Winston McAnuff and Fixi ‘A new day’ (Chapter Two/Wagram) 4/5

Jamaican reggae star Winston McAnuff has teamed up with French accordionist and producer Fixi for an album that can best be described as world fusion in the true sense of the word and it covers a multitude of styles, yet still ends up as a cohesive whole. It helps greatly that musicians of the calibre of Fela drummer Tony Allen are on hand. For fans of roots reggae, McAnuff has certainly not forsaken his roots and on the 1980s computer generated sound effect of ‘I’m a rebel’ one of the most melodic pieces on the album is to be found complete with a lovely piano vamp. However, this is no reggae pastiche album for the shuffling electronica beat of ‘One, Two, Three’ hints at the kind of song that Manu Chao might have conjured up while ‘You and I’ has a distinctive Afro-Beat groove with brass and McAnuff adapts well to this new environment and the Jamaican-Nigerian mix is a most complimentary one. Funk drum beats and reggae flavours combine on the acoustic number ‘Heart of gold’ that has an unusual time signature to it, but nonetheless grows with each listen. Social realities are never forgotten by McAnuff and here they are evoked head on with ‘Economical crisis (coconut)’ with some cheesy 1970s style keyboards added for good measure. The now defunct Makasound label of Paris brought out some wonderful new acoustic sessions during its existence and these are paid homage to on both the laid back song ‘Don’t give up’ and on the superior ‘Let him go’. A fine coming together of world beats and one that may just prove to be a surprise package. Tim Stenhouse

The pair are appearing live at on 31st January for Celtic Connections in Glasgow.