Sara Lugo is a very talented Reggae/Soul artist from Munich, Germany, with a lot to offer in the genre. Her style of music is lyrical, easy to listen to, and contains a message that anyone can relate to. Germany is a country that does not come to one’s mind when Reggae music is mentioned—but Ms. Lugo does it so well it doesn’t matter where she is from. She is completely believable, and her songs are very well composed with fantastic arrangements and heart-felt lyrics.
“They Cry,” featuring Naptali, has a familiar slow Reggae tempo. The song carries an important message—commenting on the hardships of children living on the streets. Reggae is noted for its tradition of social criticism, and Ms. Lugo follows this formula with great success, bringing home the significance of poverty and the struggles that many homeless children face day to day. On this particular song, her voice is strong. She sounds like a mix between Bjork and Joss Stone, and her singing draws the listener in. Naptali, the featured artist on this track, is a very talented Reggae-style rapper, and adds sizzle to the song. It has a mellow vibe, and contains all the elements one would expect from Reggae music—drums, bass guitar, horns, vocals, and a lyrical theme.
“Rock Steady,” picks up the pace with a faster, more upbeat cadence. This is more of a fun song, allowing the listener to imagine hearing this song while hanging out on the beach sipping margaritas. This song has a very nice brass section, and a memorable melody. The only downside is trying to understand what of Lugo is singing —her German accent is very prominent and distracts the listener from really listening to and understanding the lyrics. But Ms. Lugo gets back on track with another faster-tempo song, “Swinging High,” which features the band Trio Grande. It has a nice beat and a jazzy feel. There are almost no lyrics on this track, just mostly instrumentation. Lugo sings “higher and higher” against the backdrop of a haunting oboe and steady drumbeat. The bass guitar and piano add to the jazzy ambiance of the song, and the accordion is a nice and unique touch. Both of these songs are easy to move to, and have a nice upbeat rhythm.
“Roots Rastaman” has a very funky intro, with guitars using the “wah-wah” effect common in many 70’s funk songs. This is a very placid song, with good use of the guitar and horn. Lugo’s singing is very emotional on this particular track—she sings about wanting to be in love. The listener can easily connect to the lyrics, because it’s a common theme that almost everyone can relate to. The only minor negative aspect of the song is the fact that Ms. Lugo’s German accent does not mix well with the Jamaican Patois style of enunciation she uses throughout the song. But the listener can look past this small detail to really enjoy the positive message and excellent arrangement of the song. This is one of Lugo’s best lyrically, and her accent is not so distracting as to take too much away from the song. Its evident that she is a very skillful songwriter, and that a lot of what she feels goes into her songs.
The best of Lugo’s sampled songs is “Mother and Child.” The track is acoustic, with just her voice and the guitar. This really showcases the yearning in Lugo’s singing, as she tells a story about a woman wanting a better life for her and her child. There is an intimacy there that brings the listener close to the singer and to the lyrics. The song ends with an uplifting message of hope…. with only her voice alongside the soft licks of the guitar. The song is very emotional and heartfelt– Lugo’s naked and raw sentiment shines through, and allows the listener to really experience the power of the song’s meaning.
Sara Lugo describes her music as “Serious German Reggae with Soul,” and that perfectly sums up what she is all about. She is a very soulful Reggae artist that is a force to be reckoned with. Her songs are very emotional with powerful messages—whether it is a more somber song commenting on some social aspect of life, or more upbeat music celebrating the feeling of being in love. Her style of Reggae really does have “Soul” in both senses: Soul as in the Rhythm and Blues type of music, and soul as in emotional depth.