Seasons of Life EP by Don Franco Tafari
The year long wait finally ended around late October of 2015 when the visual artwork cover surfaced. The striking cover which forms as much an intricate part of the project as the music itself was designed by illustrator who doubles up as a photographer and videographer, Kush Karter. There would be another long wait for the final product to reach the audiences after the cover was out. During all this time we were made to anticipate the coming of this EP – Seasons of Life by Don Franco ‘The Shepperd” Tafari. We were teased with video jingle/promos and persistent updating about the upcoming project. Finally the four track EP arrived, made official by its release on iTunes at the end of January.
The one thing about Don Franco, native of Zimbabwe based in South Africa, is his unrelenting dedication to differentiating and separating himself from Zimdancehall and slackness in Dancehall. He is a fierce opponent to these aspects of reggae to a point of consistently and openly critiquing and distancing himself away from them. This whole project is all about that, to separate himself from these genres, hence the cover also played a significant role in that aspect.
The project which took almost a year to put together, emphasizing quality over quantity, delivered on its promise to render what and who Don Franco Tafari is all about. It is almost taking his social media updates and statuses and putting them into song, he never strayed from his daily message. He also made it a point that he worked with producers who understand him well enough to be able to relay the message as it was intended.
The four track EP opens up with Zion Way, a Carribean Blend production with a strong nyahbhingi chant backdrop which lends itself perfectly with Don Franco’s lyrical flow and where he flawlessly relays his Rastafarian principles. This is the highlight of the the EP, as you can clearly hear how comfortable he is with this sound.
The second track Who we are informs of the levels Don Franco has reached. A global observer of trends in reggae music and moving along rightfully so with the trends. Its an upbeat production that at first listen, departs from the usual Don Franco style, but half way into it the catchy refrain has got you singing along and it is where Franco flexes his vocal ability. Even here, the message is priority.
Show me the Way has an uptempo beat with heavy studio effects throughout. Its a song that has the cross over appeal, if ever he has any intentions of crossing over to new audiences. Its electronic sounds fused with reggae lyrical content and it shows the other side of Don Franco.
It closes off with a somewhat clichèd fast paced marathon of feeling Irie. It is the playful side of the Don. Its a quality production which is experimental but adds to the versatility of the artist and his willingness to expand and grow his repertoire.
Seasons of life is about different things that happen in a mans life and how man is to adapt himself, is how Don Franco Tafari describes the EP. With the message it carries and the varied sounds that are delivered, the EP lives up to its name and Don Franco has managed to up his own standard which only he can measure up to. From hence forth, nothing sub standard is to be expected from the man.
1. Zioin Way [Carribean Blend]
2. Who We are [CC Beats]
3. Show me the Way [DJ Ishens]
All tracks mixed and Mastered by DJ Peet
Executive Producer Rebel Shumba Legion 16