After seeing Favela Rising, a documentary following the rise of the exciting Afro-reggae movement in the drug-run barrios of Rio de Janeiro, I'm put off by this album by the 10-member Afro-Reggae collective. While there's nothing markedly bad about their disc, the first group to emerge from Anderson Sa's organization Grupo Cultural Afro-Reggae seems to want to make the music more accessible for mainstream audiences.
Favela Uprising has none of the raw energy that a burgeoning genre from people making music out of necessity should have. Extremely refined production, de-emphasis on hiphop and the occasional Enrique-style ballad make much of this sound groomed to be sold with biscotti. Certainly nothing Diplo would rely on to get the club crunk.
Afro-Reggae rock Harbourfront Centre Saturday (August 11).