West-African reggae vocalist Alpha Blondy returns with a brand new studio album Positive Energy on April 22 via VP Records. With over 15 albums under his belt and more than 30 years in business, Alpha Blondy stays true to his rebellious spirit and signature contemporary world sound on his latest release. His unmistakable vocals (which are a mix of English, French and his native language Dioula) are filled with messages of life, liberty and disdain of politics that ride over afro-reggae beats and jazzy funk-fused rhythms. During release week, Alpha Blondy will hit the road to support the new album. On April 21, he heads to NYC to headline BB Kings. Then, he makes his way to New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival on April 23 and the Festival international de Louisiane in Lafayette, LA the following day.
Alpha Blondy’s upbringing is as rich and diverse as his music. Hailing from the Ivory Coast, Alpha Blondy was born to a Muslim mother and a Christian father and brought up by a grandmother who taught him to love everyone. He always raised awareness about social injustice and aimed to promote unity in his lyrics and in real life, which eventually led him to become the Ambassador for Peace for the UNESCO, NATO and CEDEAO. The singer grew up listening to African folkloric music, but was influenced by American bands like Pink Floyd, Jimmy Hendrix, The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Otis Redding.
He was introduced to Bob Marley’s music when he moved to New York to study English at Hunter College and in Columbia University’s American Language Program. After a brief stint in Paris to record his 1984 album Cocody Rock, he headed to Jamaica to record the title track with Marley’s backing group, The Wailers. Later, he returned to in Kingston’s Tuff Gong Studios to record his third album Jerusalem (1986).
By the release of his 1987 album Revolution, Blondy had already established himself as an international artist with a massive following in his native country, North America and Europe. His popularity continues to grow, and he continues to steadily release albums. Following Mystic Power (2013), Positive Energy is the second album released on reggae label VP Records.