Lamine Fellah is a nomad at heart, musically inspired by his global travels since childhood. The Algeria-native producer fronts Sarazino, based in Ecuador, delivering signature world pop comprised of African, reggae and Latin influences. His father was a diplomat and traveled intercontinentally to various postings, exposing the songwriter to styles beyond Western Africa at an early age. Fellah started writing his own music and formed his own band with friends before taking off to study at the University of Montreal. Fellah lost his father in an assassination by Islamic radicals in 1993, influencing the young musician to further embrace the urgency for global community through his music. Two years later in Montreal, Sarazino was conceived, releasing their full-length debut Et Puis Voila in 1997. Following the release, Fellah moved to Ecuador, where he grew fond of Latin styles and released his sophomore Mundo Babilón through MTM Records in 2003. Sarazino joined the Cumbancha Discovery series and released its third album, Ya Foy!, in 2009, followed by their latest release, Everyday Salama, in May 2012.
Reggae seems to have emerged as a major building block of “world” music. Artists from all over Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe use reggae as a base for their musical melanges. Maybe it's the fact that reggae was such a blending pot of influences in the first place, but in any case, reggae works as an excellent jumping point for all kinds of influences, and that's just what Sarazino does. Originally born in Algeria to a diplomat father, Sarazino, a.k.a. Lamine Fellah later lived in Spain, Switzerland, Burundi, Burkina Fosa, then Canada and finally Ecuador. So if anyone's got a license to incorporate a variety of regional styles into his music, it's this guy.
Sarazino's current sound began to form after he settled in Ecuador in the late 90s, falling in love with Latin American music. He released his debut album Mundo Babilón, in 2003, following that with Ya Foy! In 2009, and his most recent effort, Everyday Salama, was released in 2012. The album is crisply produced and sunny throughout, incorporating heavy doses of reggae as well as touches of hip hop and various Latin American music styles. The result won't blow your mind as a totally new sound, but it is lively, fun, and lovingly crafted.
“El Fugitivo” is an upbeat, intense track combining everything from hip hop style turntable scratches to Latin horns and Spanish rapping. Mixing fun with a sense of serious urgency it's one of the album's best. Other tracks, like “Caminare Por Babylon” are more straight up Latin with shuffling salsa beats and and a brass section that sounds borrowed from a mariachi band.
Despite the intensity on tracks like “El Fugitivo,” Sarazino shows himself to be a dude that likes sunny skies and positive vibes. “Contigo Lola” is a sweet, slightly silly romp that flies the reggae flag high. It's catchy, and utterly positive.
Whatever style Sarazino is weaving together, it's tough not to share his enthusiasm.