Times might be tough for dreamers, but Khalifa takes a stand. For his album Hard times for dreamers, Khalifa rounded up an international crew, bringing in Mad professor, Winston Mac Anuff, Nambo Robinson, Sly and Robbie et Steven Marley Wright (I Jah Man) to put together 12 powerful, tight songs. Each tune has its subtlety; the punchy brass section gives way to the strings, and a 50s guitar trill weaves in and out of a raw afro-beat. Robbie Shakespeare’s bassline smoothly glides us from Lagos to the Kingston suburbs, while Khalif’s masterful voice takes the lead.
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Hard times for dreamers was the result of trips to Oran, Ramallah, Kingston, Paris and London, and exchanges with Sly & Robbie, Mad Professor, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Taxi Gang, Sugar Minott, Nambo Robinson, Steven Marley Wright and Paul Groucho Smykle.
Khalifa, a composer and musician since 1997, doesn’t think of his music as compartmentalized. He draws his energy straight from the roots of reggae, and exceeds our preconceptions, whether it is with French songs, blues, or North African traditional music. The stage is his turf, his habitat; it’s worldly, hypnotic, and with the Positive Radical Sound crew, he reminds us that dreams are possible.
—By Luc Brou. Columnist, Director of the Interstices Festival