Originally released in 2002, Ori ire is a musical gem that needs to be shared with as wide an audience as possible.
The powerful drum and bass of the opening title Egun sets the appropriate tone for a song named after a principle Orisha of the Yoruba spiritual belief system. Yet, the rhythm whilst clearly of a traditional African base is not classic Afrobeat, likewise the sublime piano and saxophone melodies which are clearly an expression of jazz do not sit constrained by clichés or boundaries similar to the vibes of John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and Nina Simone when she demonstrated an original musical expression of Africentricity with her classic track Westwind.
Elegua is our first introduction to vocals and offers a soulful chant that serves as a tasty appetiser for what is to come, the masterpiece named Lying Waiting.
With its soul penetrating drum and bass, cool, soaring saxophone and punctuating piano playing, this song generates such positive vibrations it would be at home on a dance floor as well as a spiritual shrine.
The rest of the album follows this path of generating spirit moving African jazz tinged offerings whilst dispersing uplifting songs and chant. Ori Ire is one of the rare occasions which achieves both with a vocal rendition in the classic spirit of the best African Griots whilst riding a sublime groove.
Another standout track is the delicious Osun, a track as delectable as its namesake whilst sporting a smooth female lead that rides and successfully tames a beautiful muscular rhythm.
Some would seek to classify this album simply as Afrobeat flavoured jazz but they would be wrong. Just as if Fela had been labelled a dance artist or Marley a reggae man. This entire album has a spiritual dimension to it that sets it above many others and in so doing acts as a portal creating a genre very few reside in.
Ori Ire is said to mean “one whos destiny is aligned with their consciousness”
To this I can only reply...
Kevin Haynes - vocals, alto saxophone, bata drum, congas
Bennet Mclean - keyboards
Neville Malcolm - bass
Davide Giovannini - drums
Ronald Thomas - vocals, bata drum
Trevor Antonio - bata drum
Bill Bland - vocals, bata drum
Niles Hailstone and Yawande Ogunnakie - Guest narrators