Generally speaking, I’m more of wallflower at the party, not really much of a dancer and I’m pretty sure that Goodie Mob was throwing jabs at me when they dropped “They Don’t Dance No Mo”, but I digress. I do make a handful of exceptions however, depending on how many Long Islands I consume and how dark the place is. I would be minding my own business and then the DJ’s reggae set starts. I hear the words “Shake..that…thing”, the beginning of Sean Paul’s “Get Busy” and I’d be driven to the dance floor to try my best to violate someone’s daughter as much as possible without being arrested. I didn’t know it at the time, but what had magnetically pulled me to the floor (besides the sights) was a riddim called Diwali which has been credited to a producer named Steven “Lenky” Marsden. One of the main elements associated with the style is syncopated handclapping. It was given its name for its Bollywood dance music influence.
I suppose I just hadn’t paid enough attention, but I was reasonably surprised to read that there were so many other popular songs that had also utilized the same riddim. I do remember Rihanna’s “Pon De Replay” (which is not included on this compilation), but I didn’t give a second thought to songs like Wayne Wonder’s “No Letting Go.” Luckily for me, reggae music veteran, Greensleeves has a compilation filled to the brim with artists and their own approaches to the riddim. Some of the other artists include Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, T.O.K., Spragga Benz and Wayne Marshall.
Rather than making the listener wait or have to skip around, Greensleeves loads the front end of the compilation with the most popular songs. Lumidee’s “Never Let You Go (Uh Ooh)” is sandwiched between the aforementioned Sean Paul and Wayne Wonder songs. From that point, the collection goes off in different directions. Elephant Man shows up and puts his own spin on Nena’s “99 Luftballoons” on “Elephant Message”, Wayne Marshall gets motivational with “Overcome” and Zumjay is nothing less than braggadocios with the aptly-titled “Zumjay.” The ladies are represented here with songs from Cecile and Crissy D. Cecile is demanding her propers on “Respect Yuh Wife”, while Crissy D just wants the best out of her extracurricular activites (and who doesn’t, really?) on “Make It Real Good.” This compilation comes to an end with “XM24” and “Diwali Rhythm”, both produced by Lenky.
I feel that placing all of the larger hits all together gets them out of the way and exposes the listener to the rest of the songs. Some of the tracks here are more exciting than others, but that is to be expected. What should also be expected is a small language barrier on some of these joints. I’ve covered albums in the past with songs that were difficult to grasp by ear before, so it isn’t that much of a big deal. I feel as if the delivery of the lyrics bears the same amount of weight as the lyrics themselves. One final piece of nitpicking I have is that I wish the tracks would have been more streamlined. There’s a short gap between the songs and that may be due my error when importing them. I’ll have to check that out. It won’t affect the score by any means though. Overall “Diwali” is a pretty decent collection of jams that would even manage to make me hit the floor more than a handful of times.