Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Imani Hekima

Bradford based Imani Hekima is a brilliant, soulful singer with a great vocal range. I love it when his voice goes high as it reminds me of both Imagination’s Leee John and David McAlmont.
He is also a gifted musician and arranger. This CD (which is due out this Autumn) has lots of lovely little hooks and grooves and on tracks like “We’re Losing Faith” we get to hear him show off his impressive piano skills.
Influence wise I’d say that this album contains a bit of Bob Marley, a pinch of Stevie Wonder, a sprinkling of The Selecter (circa “Celebrate The Bullet”) and a big dollop of Aswad (in the early days when they were good) All of which is fine with me.
Listening closely to Hekima’s no nonsense lyrics his message tends to be a pretty basic: think for yourself and do the right thing. Imani looks outside his window and sees a world filled with people with “too much time on their hands and too much nonsense in their heads” There are bad times just around the corner. This album is nowhere near as bleak as say Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band or Dusk by The The. But when Bob Dylan recorded his Blowing in the Wind the album he balanced the serious stuff with throwaway love songs like “Honey give me one more chance”. Likewise, on Lenny Kravitz’s “Let Love Rule” debut although the overall tone was “The world has gone wrong / We’re all doomed unless we change the way we treat each other” the CD ended with the silly knees-up Flower Child. My only petty quibble with Imani's release is that there's an absence of fun and frivolity.
Imani writes, performs and co produces all the tracks. One can tell a lot of love has gone into making this album and it’s obvious he is very talented. I hope it does well, it deserves to. Maybe his next collection of songs will be more up. In the future it would be nice to occasionally hear him either just having a laugh or singing a few silly love songs. But, as I said, Hekima has delivered a really good album. Few would deny Imani’s work is very impressive indeed.
One of the album's standout tracks "Just Beneath The Skin" will be available as a download in October for more info: http://www.myspace.com/imanihekima

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