Ras Vuyo – Diversion
Ras Vuyo has been working in the reggae music industry for 15 years as a producer and he composed music that has been voiced by a number of South African and international Reggae artists including Crosby, Colbert Mukwevho, King Kong, Prince Malachi, Peter Spence, Jimmy Riley, Yellowman, C-Sharp Band, Laza Morgan, Freddie McGregor and many more.
Diversion is his first album as a vocalist released under the One Afreeka Edutainment label. The album features Mutabaruka, Wild Life and Vivian Jones from Jamaica. The Ghetto Sound Production team which include Ricky Bushula, Wakhile Xhalisa & Ras Vuyo, Jah Sam from Reunion Island, Dawit Menelik Tafari and Hopeton Hibbert contributed to the final product. The album was mixed by Jah Roadz, Manjul, Paul Hussey and Hopeton Hibbert, and Ras Vuyo himself did the mastering.
Azania Band is the backing band on all tracks except on ‘Life it nuh Easy’ which was produced by Hopeton Hibbert and ‘Diversion’ was produced by Dawit Menelik Tafari, and featuring Dean Fraser on Horns (Jamaica), Hopeton Hibbert (Jamaica), Manjul on percussions (France) Jah Roadz on percussions (UK) and Damien Allouch on horns (Reunion Island).
You can understand why it took so long for Ras Vuyo to finally put out an album and bear his soul to the world, as you listen to the tracks, the first impression you get is the quality of the product. As a sound engineer, his sensibilities are predisposed towards sound quality, and if it means waiting 15 years to actualize this, then so be it. It requires patience and nerves of steel, and Ras Vuyo is that person.
Let me tell you a bit about Ras Vuyo and the respect that he commands in the reggae community in SA. He has been with Azania Band, one of the oldest and hardest working band in Cape Town. They have worked with enough youths from Cape Town and the surrounds, they have worked with Reggae’s top international stars yet still remain humble, still in the ghetto working with the youth. Ras Vuyo involves himself with the youth, its common to find him reasoning with the youth, engaging them, talking unity, upliftment, reminding them that the system don’t care and about the state of Reggae. Not a lot of elders have the patience to engage with the youth, but Ras Vuyo does. He is a master teacher. He cares. He touches on social issues that are of significance to us as Africans. But he does not have patience with the ‘victim mentality’, he strongly believes that we got to pull ourselves up and out of Bondage. He once wrote an opinion piece which speaks of this mentality. He was also very instrumental in the formation of the South African Reggae Music Association [SARMA] and spearheaded the Cape Town regional branch.
Listening to the album is like listening to Ras Vuyo’s contribution to the ongoing discussions about Africa and how to solve our problems . It covers the topics that are relevant, especially in these times. All his ideas have been relayed in song. The lead single ‘Agenda 2063‘, Ft. Wild Life is a call for Africans to organize and centralize as Wild Life puts it:
Arise Mama Africa take care of yourself / you don’t have to depend pon no one else you have your own riches and you have your own wealth / stand tall stand predominant / Organize and centralize that is essential / that is the only way to show your true potential
The tune ‘Life it nuh’ easy was produced by Hopeton Hibbert who is Toots Hibbert’s son, who suggested that Ras Vuyo collaborates with Mutabaruka on a tune. Ras Vuyo recounts how it happened: ” Basically he gave Muta the music with my vocals and asked him to add his part. But it seems that Muta decided to redo these lyrics on this tune, Muta dealt with Hopeton on this one. Actually Hopeton was not even aware that Muta had released these lyrics before. I’m the one who told him that these lyrics have been released on the Check It album before. I had a copy of the Check it album when I was still a 15 year old high school youth.”.
The entire album is clearly a labour of love, it makes sense why it took this long for Ras Vuyo to finally bear his soul to the world. All the experiences he has amassed throughout the years have been compressed into this carefully laid out 16 track sonic experience. His delivery is steady and deliberate, as if to make sure that you do not miss the message. Even the album cover speaks volumes about this project, Ras Vuyo explains:
“Actually the album is a tribute to the Bushmen, my ancestors come from the Bushmen of the Drakensberg and I can feel the pain of my people who are still living in poverty and are marginalized by most African governments. In South Africa the Bushmen are called Colored which is an identity that was given to them by the Apartheid government together with the Khoikhoi. At the same time we know that the Bushmen were absorbed into neighboring African communities when the Colonial government was rewarding those who have killed them. When it was no longer Safe safe to be /Xam, //Xegwi, etc, abaThwa became Tswanas, Xhosa, etc just to survive.” – Ras Vuyo
Diversion will directly be filed under South African classic and timeless Roots Reggae Album to come out in these times. A collectors item. Limited physical copies are available from selected distributors in South Africa and one can request directly from Ras Vuyo for a copy to be shipped if outside of South Africa.
Diversion is an exceptionally well arranged melodic, hypnotic and meditative album that eloquently addresses social issues. This one is strictly for roots reggae lovers.