Ben Okafor – Diverted Traffic
1. El Shadai
2. Kind Of Crazy
3. Touch My Soul
5. I Will Be Back
6. God For All
Although this album isn’t a Plankton Records release (Ben released it on his own Roadsweeper Records label) we have a long time relationship with Ben and we want to support him when we can.
Ben Okafor’s music has sometimes been described as ‘reggae fusion” as it magically brings together Ben’s love of reggae and infuses it with his African roots & rhythm, jazz and folk. For this album, Ben returned to the USA to work with producer and long time friend Harvey Jones, with whom he made his Plankton Records ‘Coffee With Lazarus’ album.
Ben’s love (and concern) for all humanity and for socially justice, equality and peace are all evident in his powerful lyrics. Personal influences and passions also feature. Diverted Traffic is classic Ben Okafor, and classic Ben Okafor is something to be savoured and be listened to. Expect to enjoy Ben’s music but also to be moved, challenged and blessed.
Nigeria’s passionate campaigner for justice and consummate reggae-influenced practitioner of African music has returned with this impressive set and there’s rarely a dull moment on this disc, which is his 12th since he began recording in 1985. This album is a testimony to a man comfortable with his art, whilst striving with his faith – proclaiming God’s majesty, forgiveness and power alongside a cry for people to live under justice and grace. Moments of beauty in “Touch My Soul” with its gentle bass underpinning and clean guitar and the acoustic guitar and mournful vocals of “God For All” sit comfortably with the reggae stylings and declaration of God’s life in “Elshadai” and “Praise” and the passionate proclamations in the pure reggae of “Gene” and acoustic guitar-based “I Will Be Back”. Okafor himself says that he prefers his music to be described as a genre of “socio-spiritual consciousness” and his music indeed shows a desire for a better world which can only be achieved through the power of God and in the love of Christ. The message and the music sounds good to me. 9/10 – Cross Rhythms