Ione Angeles has been in the Reggae scene for more than 20 years. In the 90’s while living in Jamaica, she joined with legendary Soul Syndicate drummer Max Edwards and formed the band TENGEH. They toured and lived in Europe for more than 10 years, and recorded 2 albums, 1995’s “Tengeh”, and 1998’s “Ascension 2012”. Upon returning to the States, she went solo, and has recorded and performed with many bands and artists through the years. Up-to-date but timeless, exciting but not over-excited and fascinating beyond infatuation – the singles released by Ione Angeles is a musical revelation not comparable to anything I’ve heard from female reggae artists in recent times. With the calm force of an ocean breaking through waves and rocks, Ione manages to skirt any expectations people or the genre might have, and created something completely smooth and surprising.
The five tracks I listened to on her music platform are hopefully but an appetizer for an album release to come, as each single one of them is bound to leave you yearning for more. There is such a deep, intricate relation between the beats and the way the singer wraps her voice around and through them, that every note seems to condition the letters of the words riding them and vice versa. From the opening organ and horn filled riddim on “Walk Away”, you will not just vibe with the beat of the drums but your ears will be tickled by the rattling, rippling, and tapping of its sway.
Ione Angeles’ music vibe is generally an easy-going, smooth roots sound, entirely positive, well-reflected on social issues, and well-recognizable by the distinctiveness of her sweet and divine voice. Which she kindly forges on the ever-so-smooth and luscious “Big Waves”. On “Sunday Morning Jamaica”, Ione presents to us her core values in life, her place of choice, and her idea of spending the perfect day along with irie people ‘making the good times roll’.
The song just makes you want to join her. Both modern effects and traditional Roots elements create a soundscape that will appeal to a wide range of listeners around the world, while still preserving that very unique Ione Angeles flavor.
With “High 5” you are invited to get into the sunshine groove and let your soul hang loose, in spite of people trying to hold you down or putting obstacles in your way. In contrast to the serious issues we’re made to face on a daily basis, this track seems to be inspired by light and love in its will to inspire and uplift us.
In an up-tempo style, “Chillin” is the perfect soundtrack for an evening on the terrace, the beach, in the club, or wherever you might enjoy your afterhours groove. It is a strong effort with well-sculptured verses and an impressive adlib section, where the combination of horns, background vocals, and Ione’s lead makes the hook wrap itself around your ears.
These songs bring our attention to the musical output of an exceptional woman who has a firm grasp on life and all that comes with it. A firm grasp is what Ione Angeles has on the vocals as well – crystal clear high notes and never off-key mids are the order of the day. It is simply impossible to withstand the charm, conviction and energy of this delicate but vigorous woman.