Though the South Pacific islands of Tonga are thousands of miles away from Jamaica, no one can deny the strong Caribbean influence on this small country. Like so many other islands that dot the globe, reggae is the pulse of Tonga Tabu, a Christian republic. Undoubtedly, Tongan group 'Imisi is in the forefront of the Polynesian gospel reggae scene. Given this, it makes sense that the second major Tongan gospel reggae release would come to us courtesy of the 'Imisi camp. For the last two years David and Jubilee Fohe ('Imisi) have produced this labor of love for their aunt Olivia. This is a hallmark effort for these brothers as this project is the first recording tracked entirely at 'Imisi's own Decise-En-Pen studio in Riverside, CA. Hevani (Tongan for 'Heaven') is a solid debut effort by Olivia Pale. Strong modern reggae rhythms drive her vocal delivery that stirs the soul and speaks to the heart. As indicated by the title, the lyrics speak of Heaven, life after death, and a foundation of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Although the entire CD is in Tonganese, the roots vibe and beautiful vocal melodies transcend language and culture and offer the listener a true island flavor. Don't be deceived by the cover of this CD. This is not a Jewish or Muslim recording. It is simply Tongan reggae. The album cover, which features a picture of Jerusalem, is tied to Olivia's 'never ending love for Israel.' The production is clean and several of the 12 tracks are fortified with the backing vocals of 'Imisi's David Fohe. All of the music was written and performed by David and Jubes of 'Imisi. Overall, 'Hevani' is heaven for reggae fans and Olivia Pale is a welcomed addition to the gospel reggae community. Pick up your copy today and get a taste of some pure Polynesian reggae. It's a slice of 'Hevani'.
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