BIG Ganja Tunes Vol. 2
I must admit it was the cover art that first drew me to this compilation. You may well recognise the original photo this was inspired by, but GANJA DJ PANDAS, what’s not to love! This release is more than about pandas obviously, so please forgive my slightly flippant opening. Recently released by ‘BIG Seeds’ the album contains twenty one tracks with the aim of highlighting the normalisation and legalisation of cannabis, a serious subject indeed.
I am going to sit on the fence with this issue, well maybe. Whether you agree with the use of cannabis or not, it is impossible to separate it from reggae. Whether you see weed as a Rastafarian holy sacrament, a harmless recreational drug, something that has medicinal qualities or even as a dangerous mind altering substance, then that is your choice. I am not going to moralise here.
BIG Seeds (Barcelona Investigation & Genetic) describes itself as ‘a seed bank that markets varieties of marijuana seeds for collectors’, they obviously sit on the yes side of the fence. They have brought out this compilation with like-minded reggae artists to at least bring the subject out into the open for debate. But rather than delve into the pros and cons, this piece is going to focus primarily on the music. Below are a couple of my favourites which I hope will illustrate why I like this collection so much.
Sista Moni – Green and Brown
Track two (see video below) and probably my favourite is this beautiful track from Swedish singer Sista Moni. She is not someone I have heard of before, but she has the voice of an angel and could probably sing about something really terrible and still make it sound absolutely gorgeous. The lyrics focus on cannabis and its medicinal qualities, got a feeling she has a point.
OK a bit of moralising… I am convinced the cures to all our illnesses are out there in the natural world, whether we find them before we destroy our environment is another matter! And it may sound a bit ‘conspiracy theory’, but while the multinational pharmaceutical companies have a stranglehold on the market, the potential of natural remedies like cannabis will be under investigated. Well until they see a way to make millions of dollars… So anything that can be done to highlight how natural remedies like cannabis can potentially help mankind are worthy in my mind.
Pato Ranking – Fumo Hierba
Another song to file in the ‘beautiful’ column is this Spanish language track from Chilean singer Pato Ranking called ‘Fumo Hierba’. It has a lovely relaxed groove, interspersed with vintage sounding horn accents, very catchy indeed. Something that has occurred to me recently is that reggae sung in different languages makes the music sound even more exotic, particularly when you have a singer with Pato's qualities. The expression he puts into this track creates understanding, you can follow the rhythm of the words and get a feel for what he is trying to say. Some new reggae in my opinion doesn’t stretch poetic lyricism very far and can sound very formulaic. There are exceptions of course, Peter Tosh is a great example of a reggae singer who has messages that need to be listened to. Despite not understanding the lyrics I like to think that this track, as well as being a great tune, also has a strong message to put across. Perhaps you Spanish speakers can let me know?
BIG Ganja Tunes Vol. 2
As I said earlier this album is out now and like the recent Frenchtown HiFi collection I reviewed, you are getting really good value here. Twenty one excellent tracks for $10 is a bargain in my book. You can buy it from itunes or cdbaby and other online retailers. If you like what you hear, maybe check out Volume One which is still available from the BIG Seeds site.
Bless, Paper Lion
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