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Wunmi - A.L.A.
Wunmi's career journey to A.L.A., her highly anticipated debut album, has been a long one.  With years of experience dating back to Soul II Soul, the woman born Ibiwunmi Omotayo Olufunke Felicity Olayia has been a first-hand observer of the global development of African consciousness as expressed via music.  

Along the way, she has recorded across all variants of beat-driven music that include hip hop with fellow Brit Ty, afrobeat with Masters At Work, and broken beat/house fusions with the Pasta Boys, Seiji,  Osunlade and Tony Nwachuku from Attica Blues. 

A.L.A., which stands for Africans Living Abroad, certainly reflects this kaleidoscopic vision. With help behind the boards from the previously mentioned producers plus longtime associates Alix Alvarez, Fauna Flash and Siji, A.L.A. is sure to be one of the year's best albums.

The title gives a general idea of A.L.A.'s theme, but let's focus on two cuts in particular that specifically  address the feelings of struggle and alienation that are faced by people of African descent living in the West.   

"Illegal Alien" is a heartfelt ballad touching on the trapped-in-the-crosshairs feeling of many expatriates. "Crossover (Commerciality)" describes the tightrope walked by artists who are pressured to balance reaching a wide audience with creative integrity.  This cut seems the most autobiographical since it most accurately represents Wunmi's history as an artist who struggled on the sidelines because of her originality.

But this is not a downer album by any means.  "Greedy Body" is a funky collaboration with Nwachuku that sets the vibe of the album. And releasing her very fresh cover of "Message In A Bottle" as a single could be a smart move considering the hysteria caused by the Police's reunion. 

Let's hope the business-related problems that have caused A.L.A. to be delayed numerous times (it was first reviewed in the Spring 2006 issue of Straight No Chaser) are finally straightened out. Check Wunmi's site for more information.   

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