Alari is the debut album from the young singer/songwriter, Liya. It is also the first album released by a female, under the Davido Music Worldwide (DMW) record label. During her unveiling as the record label’s “first lady”, the DMW boss solemnly promised to make her a global star!
The EP begins right away with the opening track Alari, a fusion of South Africa’s Amapiano and Afrobeats. On this track, Liya explores vocal renditions that only the likes of Niniola and Waje could rival. However, in a sound as extravagant as Alari, very few listeners will pay close attention to the lyrics. The track was mixed and mastered to be a dancing anthem, and the fast-paced percussion made sure of this.
Lakiriboto picks up from where Alari stopped, as Amapiano tunes continue to permeate the track-list. However, if you strip the song of all it’s showy and extravagant instrumentation, Liya’s sumptuous and lush soulful Yoruba vocals makes this track a very enjoyable one.
The downside to this record is the Davido feature. Davido’s forced vocal enthusiasm was all over the place and he almost shattered the musical piece. Lakiriboto transitions finely into Years ago, a calmer and serene side of the album. The track starts with a catchy and rhythmic riff that continues to ring periodically throughout the song. Singing with her chest-voice, Liya compares her past to her present state, in well-thought-out lyrics.
On Melo, Liya continues to deliver great vocal renditions. However, she wasn’t able to back up her tune with impeccable lyrics. Singing about her cravings for spicy ripe plantain on a song that is supposed to encourage her fans to dance away their problems, seem very comatose. Be that as it may, Liya Angelique Kidjo influenced vocal rendition on the track almost makes up for all her failings with the record.
Next, we have Adua, a great song and probably the best on the EP. Adua (meaning: Prayer) can easily transcend any listener. The saxophone embellishment in the outro compliments the musical experience perfectly. Olodumare, the last track on the EP is the only song on the album that goes beyond the 3-minute mark. Regardless of its galvanized instrumentation, the song at the core of it all is very boring and comatose. For a song about spirituality and Godly thanksgiving, we can only wish Liya wasn’t so laid back.
Alari is a six-tracked body of work that bears a mix of South Africa’s Amapiano, Afrobeats, West African Gospel music, and a light touch of West African Folk Music. Vocally, Liya draws inspiration from the likes of Angelique Kidjo and Blenda Fassie.
Album Score: 6/10