Various ‘Ragga Ragga Ragga’ CD/DVD (Greensleeves) 3/5

The annual overview of modern ragga sounds continues with this mini chronicle of the contemporary reggae scene. Some of its premier practitioners are present including I Octane who delivers a staccato rhythm and vocoder vocals on ‘Informer a work’ and Gappy Ranks who offers two songs with ‘Money out deh’ being a possible reference to the current social and financial woes affecting the entire planet. A second contribution by Gappy is something of a departure from previous projects and is deep into dancehall territory with minimalist accompaniment. More social concerns are expressed by Stylo G on ‘Call me a yardie’. In general, however, catchy rhythms and punchy lyrics are the characteristic of modern ragga and this is no better exemplified than with the lo-fi instrumentation and repetitive riff of ‘Settle down’ by Mavado. Subtle this is not, but if you requirements are strictly dancefloor action, then this ticks all the required boxes. This contrasts with the 1980s style use of synthesizers, vocoder vocals by Khago who offers call and response vocals in the intro to ‘Turn up di ting’. An accompanying DVD is part video promotion of the singers featured on the CD and part interviews with musicians and for the latter, the thoughts of Gappy Ranks are most interesting. Tim Stenhouse