Tribal Global Records, 2011
On the plus side, Under One Sun features memorable tunes, strong reggae rhythms, and a gorgeous, powerful voice. We also get a full load of passionately sung, deeply felt opinions, observations and advice, as well as full musician credits, lyrics, lots of thank-yous, and so on. And oh yes, a brief vocal contribution by Toots Hibbert.
On the thumbs down side, those deeply felt opinions, observations and advice constitute an album’s worth of preaching, preaching, and more preaching, followed by preaching. Not of the Rastafarian persuasion, but Bahai’i, although there’s lots of overlap. Note the album cover, where message subdues good taste. Listen as the sermonettte that begins the first track, a calculated ode to reggae titled “Real Reggae Music,” reveals the album’s agenda: “Let’s get it right, let’s not fight, let’s unite, tonight.” The final song, “Under One Sun,” sums things up pretty much as you’ll have come to expect by that time: “We need a revolution…we need to save society.” Along the way expect to learn lots about Brina the believer, but diddly about Brina the person.
Actually, the final song is not the final word; after 70 seconds of silence there’s what seems an unending spoken litany of what’s bothersome about the world: devastation, dehumanization, murderation, annihilation, destruction, etc. Strangely, “oversimplification” is about the only “-tion” word that didn’t make the list. Preponderation of cutesification, if you ask me.
But hey, let’s not fight, and let’s not end with negativation. Brina’s voice is a full-bodied, sweet, authoritative, confident vehicle for a wealth of hook-filled tunes. She is earnest and celebratory, tender and scathing as required. There’s some marvelous nyahbinghi along with the one-drop rhythms, and lots of African influences to take in. So go ahead; enjoy it; listen in as Brina saves the world.