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Reggae takes on 'Purple Rain' album

Published:Tuesday | November 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Sinead O'Connor - File
Prince - Contributed
Ali Campbell

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Prince's Purple Rain, reputedly one of the most influential albums of all time. To celebrate the milestone, last month, Radio Riddler released their debut album, Purple Reggae, on MITA Records.

The labour of love experiment between Fun Lovin' Criminals' Frank Benbini and Fast Leiser (known together as production outfit Radio Riddler) has turned into a fully conceived reggae tribute album.

Radio Riddler pairs their distinctive style with vocalists Sinead O'Connor, UB40's Ali Campbell, Citizen Cope, Beverly Knight and others.

Benbini and Leiser have been working together for the past five years, doing remixes for Coldplay and Lily Allen, among others.

Having conceived the idea of a reggae tribute album to their musical hero, Prince, as tracks progressed, the project grew organically and took on a life of its own. Notable musicians were eager to join the project and pay tribute to the Purple One.

Benbini said "Prince is the reason I started playing music. I grew up on this album. It's the soundtrack to my life and this is a tribute to him from me."

UB40's Ali Campbell does the vocals for Purple Rain and O'Connor takes on I Would Die 4 U. Radio Riddler approached O'Connor, since she had international success with her version of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U and she was enthusiastic.