Album Review: Manifestation by Boddhi Satva feat. Various Artists

Written by Tola Ositelu

Many moons have passed since Boddhi Satva released his last full length album of original material, Invocation. Pioneer of what he has termed Ancestral Soul, this hybrid of House and traditional African rhythms well reflects Satva’s own Belgo-C.A.R cultural fusion. He was not the first to produce Afro-House but he has brought these elements together in his own distinctive fashion.

According to Boddhi, Ancestral Soul is…

“…when deep house music has modern Congolese rumba as wife, West African voices as mistresses, and urban R&B and Afro-Cuban rhythms as occasional girlfriends…”

Satva’s influence has spread far and wide. You could hear aspects of Ancestral Soul being incorporated across the pond; on Kaytranada’s stellar 2016 debut album, for example.

Boddhi has not been on hiatus in the decade between Invocation and his latest offering, Manifestation (released on BBE’s offspring label, Batakari). There have been countless collaborations and the odd retrospective. As if to announce his proper comeback in elaborate style, Manifestation is a grand and truly Pan-African project; arguably Satva’s most ambitious record to date. He’s hungrier than ever, something the man himself doesn’t deny…

“…Manifestation truly represents my musical evolution through my 21 year-career in the music industry. You’d think that as the years go by, I’d run out of juice and more than ever this appears as an absolute impossibility for me…”

30+ instrumentals and vocalised tracks, no interludes. Back in the day, this would be two – if not three – CDs worth of content. To make his international vision complete, Satva harnesses Diasporic talents from the four corners of the globe. Collaborators sing in the major colonial languages as well as native tongues. The roster boasts the likes of Afropeans Sly Johnson, label mate Jojoofthejungle as well as veterans of contemporary American soul, Raheem DeVaughn and the ever-quirky Bilal.

Manifestation is more accomplished than its 2012 predecessor and not simply because it’s at least twice as long. Not content to rest on his Ancestral Soul laurels, Boddhi proves himself a dab-hand at Hi-Life (Crise Ya Yakuza with Freddy Massamba, the inspired Moda Boddhi feat. Dino D’Santiago), Dancehall (Ragga Ragga feat. Preto Show & Stonebwoy, the infectious You Come Knocking feat. Indira), harder-to-categorise soul derivatives (album highlights My Lady feat. Sly Johnson and Say Something feat. Polarishaven), hints of Trap (Believe feat. Laton & Boule Mpanya) as well as the many shades of Afrobeats (Kilulu feat. Spilulu & Kaysha, Kotto River feat. Freddy da Stupid, Lagos Vibes feat. Jojoofthejungle…). Satva’s career might have predated the ascendant popularity of Afrobeats but he won’t let himself be outflanked by the Nu School.

Party jams and politically-astute numbers are easy bedfellows; sometimes one and the same like Reggae/Hip-Hop Civilisé, on which Badi and Noah Slee rail against systemic racism; from micro-aggressions to the violent deaths of Afrodescendants in police custody. On Slow Down, J. Something sings Gospel/Inspirational lyrics over uplifting Afro-House. Haunting 2021 single Sácalo feat. Mr Luu & Davi Lorenzo showcases an even more atmospheric side to Satva’s creativity than we’ve come to know.

A double album that seldom puts a foot-wrong is a tall order. Yet, Satva and his creative coterie have achieved just that. A fluid and stimulating listen from top to bottom, prepare to have a new favourite with each fresh spin.

Manifestation by Boddhi Satva & Various Artists – out now

This review also features on the I Was Just Thinking… blog.

One thought on “Album Review: Manifestation by Boddhi Satva feat. Various Artists

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