Tchiya Amet Rise Again Truth (Milky Way)
Reviewed by David Lynch, Fri., Feb. 4, 2000
Rise Again Truth (Milky Way)Crucial reggae ain't dead, not if Tchiya Amet's even-tempoed debut Rise Again Truth is any indication. Local singer/keyboardist Amet and handpicked area musicians supply the intricate and airy musical red carpet for this Soul Sista's reasonings on living a natural, Ital life. Still, two things distinguish Rise Again Truth from other lyrically intense reggae: jazzy arrangements and the incorporation of Native American tradition. On the propelling "Lakota: 4 Directions" for example, Amet mixes Rastafari theology with indigenous mythology, the music evoking a hypothetical blend of Finnish sensation Värttinä vocal harmonies, Burning Spear's saxophone, and Aston "Family Man" Barrett bass grooves. Likewise, a Native American Mallard flute flows through the Cherokee song "Tsalagi Thankful," with the outcome being a far cry from New Age thanks to drop riddem beats and dub breaks. On opener "Natural Life," Amet's voice evokes the glassy phrasing of Sade, but with more straight-ahead conviction. Edwin Livingston's donates killer basswork throughout, but shines on "Reservation Ragtime Blues" and "Rastafari Is Universal," a tune in which Amet alludes -- like Dizzy Gillespie's brilliant "Kush" -- to the great African kingdom that gave rise to the Pharaohs. Some may find the dread lyrics a bit preachy, but Rise Again Truth is -- musically and lyrically -- head and shoulders above lovey-dovey pop reggae. Some tracks ("Natural Women") can stand alone as instrumentals. Jah Live!