Dobet Gnahore’ Offers Audiences One Of 2021’s Most Unique World Music Offerings With Her Latest LP

Courtesy: Cumbancha

World Music artist Dobet Gnahore’ has seen quite a number of highs in her professional career.  From her pre-teen years through her adult life, she has entertained people around the world, had her own group – Ano Neko – and released five albums of her own.  She has even worked with famed superstar India.Arie on her Grammy® Award-winning song ‘Pearls.’  Along with all of that, she has also seen the downside of the music industry in recent years, losing her record label, management, music publisher, and booking agent.  Add in the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this still very young singer/performer has seen just as much negative in her life as positive.  Yet even with all of the negative that has impacted her career and life, Gnahore’ has not allowed any of it to stop her.  Instead she has persevered and pushed on with a new album that is scheduled for release next week.  Couleur, which is French for “Color,” is scheduled for release Friday through Cumbancha.  The 12-song record is certain to generate plenty of interest in part because of its featured musical arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements do their own share to generate interest and engagement among listeners.  This will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that content rounds out the most important of the record’s elements.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the album a work that is certain to be one of the most talked about records among this year’s new World Music offerings.

Dobet Gnahore’s forthcoming album Couleur is a presentation that is certain to generate a lot of interest among World Music fans this year.  That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are anything but what audiences might expect when they hear or read the term “World Music.”  From beginning to end, Gnahore’ offers audiences arrangements that would fit in with any mainstream Top 40 pop radio programmer’s play list here in the United States and elsewhere.  There are steady, 2/4 dance-encouraging works throughout, such as in the album’s closer, ‘Mi Pradjo,’ ‘’Woman,’ and ‘Vis Ta Vie’ (which roughly translates to ‘Live Your Life’) featured here.  There are also more general pop style works in songs, such as ‘Jalouse,’ (which translates to ‘Jealous’), ‘Wazii’ (translated, it means ‘Think’), and ‘Ma Maison’ (‘My House’).  The album also features songs that mix Gnahore’s own influences with some more Western influence for works in whole are unique in and of themselves.  Keeping all of this in mind along with the presentations in the album’s other musical arrangements, the whole of that content makes for plenty of reason in itself for audiences to hear this record at least once.  It is just a portion of what makes this record stand out among this year’s new World Music offerings.  The album’s lyrical content proves just as important to its presentation.

The lyrical content featured throughout the album’s 40-minute presentation is important to address because of its socially conscious nature.  The topics that Gnahore’ addresses are relevant to audiences around the world.  The matter of gender equality shows up at least twice in the album in ‘Yakane,’ ‘Woman,’ and ‘Mon Epoque’ (‘My Era’).  In the case of ‘Woman,’ Gnahore works to encourage women everywhere to take pride in themselves as well as their bodies.  This in itself is key for every woman around the world.  In the case of ‘Yakane,’ she proudly sings about the growth of women’s place in the world, noting, “The time when the man was in charge of the woman has passed/Today the world is changing in favor of women/The independence of women is today.”  There is no ambiguity here.  This is a message that will resonate with any woman.  ‘Mon Epoque’ is very similar in its message.  The message here is essentially that “I am woman, hear me roar” message, as she openly says “I live in my era/Now free/In charge/A woman of today/I see a man that I like/I tell him/I want to know him/and then that’s it/And I cry out/Man, I love you, man/And I cry out/Man, I want to know you/I want to know you only one night.”  Now that final comment is pretty strong.  This is a woman who is saying she is her own individual.  That is a pretty bold statement that is sure to put a smile on any woman’s face.  That is because it is a woman who is confident in herself, including in her own sexuality. 

Of course, Gnahore’’s feminist views are not the only commentary that she offers up.  She also offers a message of encouragement and hope in ‘Leve-Toi.’  This song finds her telling listeners, “Please don’t give up/Please, live a good life” after also telling listeners that “God is strong/You will make it/Get up.”  The song in general follows this central approach and theme.  It is certain to resonate, again, with any listener. On a similar note, Gnahore’ encourages people to be careful as to who they trust in life in ‘Vis Ta Vie.’  She sings here, “Don’t talk/Don’t brag about your life/Not all ears are clean/Beware of the congassa/Beware of the kpakpato/They will want to take advantage of you/They will tell you stories/Beware of the kpakpato/Beware of the jealous.”  This message is as straight forward as any of the album’s other messages.  It is yet another message that will resonate with any listener.

As if all of the items noted are not enough, Gnahore’ also pays tribute to families in this record.  That tribute comes in the form ‘Ma Maison.’  She sings here about the joy that family brings, the importance of one’s roots, and the importance of one’s connection to one’s family in general.  It is just one more example of how the lyrical content featured in this record proves so important to the album’s presentation.  When this accessible message, the others examined here and the rest of the album’s content is considered in whole along with the album’s musical arrangements, the whole makes the album that much stronger in its presentation. 

There is no question that the collective content featured in this record is hugely important to its engagement and enjoyment.  While it is unquestionably important to the record’s presentation, it is just a portion of what makes the album worth hearing.  The sequencing of that content brings everything together and completes the album’s presentation.  The sequencing keeps the record’s energy stable from start to end, ensuring it remains relatively mid-tempo, just up-tempo enough.  At the same time, it also ensures the stylistic approaches and sounds change from one song to the next, keeping things interesting for listeners in that aspect, too.  The same applies to the record’s lyrical content.  The sequencing keeps that changing throughout, too.  Taking that into account, the album’s sequencing shows clear thought into that aspect, too.  When the impact of the album’s sequencing is considered along with that of the album’s overall content, the whole makes the album in whole a unique addition to this year’s field of new World Music offerings.

Dobet Gnahore’s forthcoming new album, Couleur is a presentation that despite being a World Music offering, is a presentation that is clearly not limited to audiences of said genre.  It is in fact an interesting record that is just as much pop as it is World Music.  It just happens to be from an artist from another nation.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are just as accessible as anything that American Top 40 pop stations play daily.  They are that accessible.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements add to the album’s appeal.  That is because it touches on topics that are accessible to any listener, regardless of their nationality.  It does this by touching on socially aware topics, such as gender equality, family, and simply living life among so much more.  What’s more, the fashion in which the messages are delivered is just as accessible as the themes themselves.  This adds even more to the record’s appeal.  The sequencing of all of that content rounds out the album’s most important elements.  It ensures the content in question changes constantly even as the songs’ energy remains relatively stable throughout.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Couleur the most unique of this year’s new World Music offerings so far.

Couleur is scheduled for release Friday through Cumbancha.  More information on Couleur is available along with all of Dobet Gnahore’’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.cumbancha.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dobetgnahore

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Listeners Will Celebrate Lakou Mizik’s New EP

Courtesy: Cumbancha

Lakou Mizik recently announced it is scheduled to release its sophomore album, titled HaitiaNola this fall.  While audiences await the album’s arrival, the Haitian musical collective has another treat for audiences to take in, in the form of its forthcoming EP Iko Kreyol.  Set for release July 19, the four-track record features four mixes of the EP’s title song, which is an update on the New Orleans/Creole standard ‘Iko Iko.’  The group takes something old and crosses it with something new both in terms of music and lyrics with this song to make the song’s four different mixes, taking the original song’s lyrics and adding its own new lyrics to that setting while also taking the original song’s musical arrangement,  Those new lyrics are themselves part of what fans of this up-and-coming group will appreciate, and they will be addressed shortly.  The four arrangements that are featured in this EP couple with the song’s proud lyrical content to add just as much interest to the whole as the lyrics themselves, and will be addressed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out the most important of its elements, bringing everything together.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of Iko Kreyol.  All things considered Iko Kreyol is a good first impression of what is to come later this year from Lakou Mizik in its upcoming album.

Lakou Mizik’s upcoming EP Iko Kreyol is a good first impression of the group’s forthcoming sophomore album HaitiaNola.  That is due in part to the lyrics featured in the song whose four varied mixes make up the body of the EP.  The song’s lyrical content presents a message that echoes the overall theme of HaitiaNola, which is an exploration of the connections between the cultures of Haiti and New Orleans.  The group sings in the song’s lead verse, “My culture is my identity from Haiti to NOLA/Spirits of Congo we are brothers and sisters/We’re ready for all that is against us/Stand firm and tell them we’re here/The drum beats and the roots entwine/We are Creole.”  The group continues on in the song’s second verse just as proudly, singing, “We are united in music, represented by our flags/Whichever road we take, we are eventually going to meet when we play the rara cornet, we harmonize with trumpets and trombones/proving that we are family, we are Creole.”  That pride of the Haitian/Creole connection continues well into the song’s third and final verse, and justifiably so.  The connection between Haiti and New Orleans is very much real.  The end of the Haitian Revolution in 1804 led to an exodus of Haitians into the U.S., specifically into the New Orleans region of the country.  Given new Orleans’ Haitian population is not today what is was in the early 1800s, that connection is still very much there in the city’s culture.  Jambalaya, for instance, which is a staple of the region, is Haitian in its roots.  The French influences in Haiti also permeate New Orleans’ architecture.  Even the region’s music and language are tied back to Haiti.  To that end, the lyrical content featured in this song works directly into the overall theme of HaitiaNola.  Its celebratory nature forms a strong foundation for the song, too; one that easily keeps listeners engaged and entertained.  That foundation is strengthen in this EP through the use of the four different arrangements presented throughout.

The arrangements featured throughout the course of Iko Kreyol each present a different take on the song, incorporating the original arrangement of the traditional ‘Iko Iko’ into each update, for a whole that once again connects the new to the old.  The first of the arrangements stays the truest to its source material, adding in a choral element and some additional percussion elements.  The use of the horns and bass adds a little something extra to the mix, too, making for more interest.  The whole of those elements gives the song the feel of an arrangement that one might expect from a historically black college and university’s marching band.  The song’s Krewe Du Kanaval Mix, — The EP’s second take on the work – is largely similar to the song’s primary take, varying only in the arrangement’s final couple of minutes.  With this take, there is an additional percussion solo nears the three-minute mark.  The choral element is added in a little more to enhance this moment even more.  Other than that, this take is almost identical to the original take.  The song’s third take – Windows 98 Dryades to Bele Mix – is perhaps the most interesting of the song’s takes.  It incorporates the song’s original arrangement, but leans far more toward the EDM side, opting more for effects and sounds than lyrical content.  There are sounds, such as a sonar blip and a siren coupled with the other effects makes this arrangement the song’s most danceable, which is a good thing.  That is because the song, lyrically, is a celebration of sorts.  So having that knowledge, even without lyrics, it makes sense that this upbeat, danceable take on the song was added to the record.  At almost seven minutes in length, it will have everyone on their feet, celebrating the whole time.  The song’s final arrangement featured on this record – the 79rs Gang Version – is another take that is largely akin to its source material, varying only closer to its finale, with another chance to showcase the arrangement’s percussive elements a little bit extra.  While it bears some resemblance to another of the EP’s arrangements, this take still bears its own identity, adding even more to the record’s interest even more.  While the song’s arrangements do their own collective share to make Iko Kreyole an interesting listen, they are not the last of the record’s most notable element.  The record’s overall production adds its own share of interest to its whole, too.

The production of Iko Kreyo is just as important as the song and its variants.  That is because the production is responsible for the general effect of each of the song’s takes.  In listening to each of the EP’s four takes, it is clear that much thought and effort was put into the record’s production, even in the case of the minor variances between some of the takes.  From the use of the percussive elements to the electronics to the horns and even the general balance of the vocals with the song’s other elements, everything is well-balanced throughout each arrangement.  Considering the balance that had to take place between the song’s Mardi Gras style roots and the other noted elements, those behind the boards clearly put a lot of effort and time into making sure each of the noted elements was well-represented in each arrangement.  The end result is four songs that even with theirs similarities, still maintain their own identity and entertain and engage listeners with ease.  Keeping this in mind, the work of those behind the boards producing this record  joins with the song’s arrangements and the song’s lyrical theme to make the whole thing a record that listeners will celebrate as much as the song celebrates Haiti’s connections to New Orleans.

Lakou Mizik’s forthcoming four-track Ep Iko Kreyol is a positive first impression of the group’s upcoming sophomore album HaitiaNola.  That is due in part to the song’s celebratory lyrical theme, which honors Haiti’s connection to New Orleans and its culture.  The four arrangements of the song that make up the body of the record are just as certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained as the song’s lyrical theme.  The production at the center of the record adds its own touch to the record, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Iko Kreyol.  All things considered, they make the EP an enjoyable first impression from what is certain to be an equally enjoyable album if not more enjoyable.  More information on Iko Kreyol is available online along with all of Lakou Mizik’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.lakoumizik.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LakouMizik

 

 

 

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Luisa Maita’s Latest LP Is Sure To Stick In Listeners’ Minds

Courtesy: Cumbancha

Courtesy: Cumbancha

Late this past August, Luisa Maita released her new album Fio da Memoria.  The album, the Brazailian singer’s fourth offering, is an interesting introduction for new listeners and a piece that her more seasoned audiences will enjoy, too.  That is due first and foremost to the musical diversity that is exhibited throughout the record.  That will be discussed shortly.  Just as important to note of the album’s presentation are the topics tackled within each of its songs.  Last but hardly least of note to the album’s presentation is its companion booklet.  That will be discussed later.  Each element plays its own important part in the album’s presentation.  All things considered, Fio da Memoria proves to be, again, an interesting introduction to Maita’s work for new listeners and a piece that her more seasoned fans will appreciate, too.

Fio da Memoria is a good starting point for anyone that is not overly familiar with Luisa Maita’s body of work, which right now not that massive.  It is also a work that her more seasoned fans will appreciate just as much as her new fans.  That is due first and foremost to the record’s musical diversity.   Throughout the course of the record’s short 39-minute run time, it touches on a number of genres in its arrangements including r&b, jazz, rock, and even a touch of the sounds generally associated with Brazil.  The r&b element is most evident in the album’s opener ‘Na Asa,’ which translates roughly to ‘On Wings’ in English.  The song’s r&b elements conjure thoughts of songs crafted by Aaliyah and others who have worked with super producer Timbaland.  That is evident in the incorporation of the song’s percussive elements and her own breathy vocal delivery. That is an element that many r&b fans will recognize and appreciate in this song.  The album’s jazz element is most evident in ‘ela,’ or ‘her’ in English.  The song’s gentle, smooth jazz sounds, with its keyboards, drums, and guitar couple with—again—Maitia’s breathy vocal delivery to create a sound which, at times, takes listeners back to the jazz clubs of the 1970s.  It is completely unlike any of the arrangements presented in any of the album’s other songs, making it stand out that much more.  The album’s rock element is most visible in ‘volta,’ or ‘return.’  What makes this arrangement stand out is the song’s garage rock style arrangement.  There are points in the song that hint at the garage rock sound of the 1970s.  It is an interesting presentation, needless to say. It is also hardly the last arrangement that stands out in this record, presentation, too.  There are plenty of other arrangements that stand out in their own right.  When each of the record’s arrangements are considered together, they show in whole why the album’s musical diversity is an important piece of the record’s overall presentation.  It is not the only important piece of the record’s presentation that should noted, though.  The topics that are tackled throughout the record are just as important to note in its presentation as its varied musical arrangements.

The musical diversity that is presented throughout Fio da Memoria is in itself an important piece of the record’s overall presentation.  That is because of the number of genres that are approached throughout the record’s 39-minute run time.  While the record’s musical diversity is an important piece of its presentation, it is not the only important element to note.  The lyrical topics that are tackled throughout the album are just as important to note as the record’s musical diversity.  The album’s opener seems to present a message of self-confidence as Maita sings about the power to make things happen by one’s own self (or so it would seem).  Meanwhile, ‘subtle’ comes across as something of a more introspective piece.  Maita doesn’t come right out in this song and tell listeners exactly what she is addressing.  But the fact that she doesn’t is sure to draw plenty of attention thanks to her talent with her words.  That’s not a bad thing, either.  If anything it will leave listeners thinking quite deeply in this case.  ‘Joy’ is one more example of the importance of the lyrical topics presented throughout Maita’s new record.  Unlike the album’s other songs, this one comes across as being rather celebratory.  What is so interesting is that while lyrically it comes across as being celebratory, musically, it is quite subdued.  It is quite the interesting juxtaposition, making the song that much more of an interesting addition to the album.  It still is not the last song that shows the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  When that material is set alongside the record’s musical diversity, the two elements join together to make even clearer why Maita’s new record stands out in this year’s World Music field.  Even with both elements in mind, they are not the album’s only key elements.  The companion booklet that comes with the album is just as important to note here as the previously discussed elements.

Both the musical diversity exhibited throughout the course of Fio da Memoria and the album’s lyrical themes are key in their own way to the album’s presentation.  While each element is important in its own right to the record’s presentation, they are not the album’s only notable elements.  The album’s companion booklet is just as important to note as those previously discussed topics.  The album’s companion booklet is so important to note because it presents each song in both Portugese and in English.  This means that regardless of whether one speaks one language or the other, it is certain to reach a wide array of listeners.  When this hugely important element is joined with the album’s musical diversity and its intriguing lyrical content, all three elements join together to show in whole why Fio da Memoria stands out in this year’s World Music field.  It stands out as a record that is both a good introduction to Maita’s music for new listeners and an equally interesting new offering for those who are more familiar with her body of work so far.

Fio da Memoria is an interesting new offering in this year’s World Music field.  That is because it is an album that proves just as interesting for Luisa Maita’s new fans as her more seasoned audiences.  It proves to be so interesting thanks in part to its musical diversity.  The lyrical content exhibited throughout the record is just as important to note.  Last but hardly least of note is the record’s companion booklet.  Each element is important in its own right.  There is no denying this.  All things considered, the record proves to be a work that will stick in listeners’ minds.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Fio da Memoria is available online now along with all of Luisa Maita’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.luisamaita.com.br

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/luisamaitamusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/luisamaita

 
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Lakou Mizik’s Debut LP Is 2016’s First Great World Music Album

Courtesy:  Cumbancha

Courtesy: Cumbancha

The islands of the Caribbean Sea are among the richest in the world when it comes to musical variety and depth.  While being a small, contained region, the islands within the Caribbean have produced some of the biggest names in the music industry for the past half decade or so.  Harry Belafonte, Afro-Cuban All Stars, and Buena Vista Social Club have all hailed from the islands of the region as have Bob Marley and the Whalers, Gloria Estefan, and Tito Puente among so many others.  These are just a handful of acts that have made the Caribbean one of the world’s greatest musical hot spots for decades.  Now yet another act–Lakou Mizik–looks to add its name to that list of greats with its debut full-length studio recording Wa Di Yo.  The Haitian collective’s twelve-song debut offering is a good start for the  group in its attempt to make its mark in the Caribbean music community.  That is thanks in large part to the combination of its infectious musical compositions and its equally insightful lyrical content.  The album’s closer and title track is just one example of how that mix of music and lyrics makes Wa Di Yo such a solid first effort from Lakou Mizik.  ‘Anba Siklon’ (In A Hurricane) is another example of how that mix makes this record an impressive debut for Lakou Mizik.  The same can also be said of the album’s first full track ‘Poze’ (Calm Down).  Its semi-zydeco sound coupled with its lyrics makes it a great starting point for the group and just one more example of how the album’s music and lyrics together make it not just an impressive first effort from Lakou Mizik but also the year’s first great new World Music offering.  That is not to ignore any of the album’s other songs.  Each of those tracks is just as important to the album’s success.  Altogether, the twelve songs that make up the body of this record make it a record that any World Music aficionado should have in his or her own music library.

Lakou Mizik’s debut full-length studio record Wa Di Yo is 2016’s first great World Music offering.  Roughly translated from its Haitian Creole root the album’s title means “The King Said To Them.”  Considering the album’s overall musical content it comes across as a fitting title.  That is because the lyrics within each of the album’s twelve songs seem to flow from the group like powerful words from an unnamed ruling person or body to the masses.  The power in those messages couple with the album’s musical arrangements to make the album one that every World Music aficionado should have in his or her personal music library.  That is evident right from the album’s closer and title track.  In regards to its musical content, the song mixes the Lakou Mizik’s traditional Haitian musical elements with guitars and drums for a gentle, flowing sound that will move listeners in its own deep fashion.  The song’s lyrical content will move listeners just as much with its stirring messages of hope and emotional strength.  Those messages are evident as the group sings, “I forseen the path The devil’s built walls to block me/Despite what I went through/I try to cross through/The rivers will not pull me down/I fall, I fall.”  The group goes on to sing in the next verse, “As long as you’re alive/Don’t give up the fight/You are in a battle/Life is up but sometimes upside down/Those who don’t understand say I’m lazy/You are wrong I say/Those who don’t understand Say that I didn’t start the game well/It’s not rue/Light.”  These positive sentiments exhibit quite well exactly what is meant in saying that the album’s insightful lyrical content and musical content make it so impressive.  There are also mentions of God’s angels and just as much other inspiration for audiences.  In itself the song’s lyrical content more than exhibits what makes this song a clearly smart addition to the album’ body.  Together with the song’s gentle, flowing musical content, both elements make this song one of Wa Di Yo’s best moments and just one example of why the album is 2016’s first great World Music offering.  It is just one example of what makes the album so great, too.   ‘Anba Silkon’ is another example of what makes this album stand out so well.

Wa Di Yo’s closer/title track is a prime example of what makes Lakou Mizik’s new album 2016’s first great World Music Offering.  That is thanks to the combination of the song’s musical arrangement and its deeply thought-provoking lyrical content.  It is only one example of what makes the album stand so tall above the year’s other World Music offerings so far.  ‘Anba Siklon’ (‘In A Hurricane’) is another important addition to the album.  Just as with ‘Wa Di Yo’ that is thanks to the juxtaposition of its lyrical and musical content.  In terms of its musical arrangement the song comes across in rather celebratory style complete with tambourine, guitar, and what sounds like an accordion.  It might in fact be something wholly other than an accordion.  That is just this critic’s own thought.  What’s interesting about all of this together is that one could argue that it is in direct contrast to the song’s lyrical theme.  In regards to the song’s lyrical theme, it comes across as a commentary centered on people from other countries capitalizing on the trials faced by the people of Haiti.  That inference is made as the group states in the song, “While the hurricane hits/In that bad weather/Some people are changing 7 into 9/While the hurricane hits/In that bad weather/Some people are changing 4 into 8/Hmmm/They changing 7 into 9/Hmmm/They changing 4 into 8.”  This is a reference to certain parties falsifying data about the number of people affected by natural disasters and other trials faced by the people of Haiti and their corrupt morals in doing so.  The group goes on to sing, “Why are you laughing about my problems/Contributing to my suffering/You trample on my happiness/Have mercy/You trample on my culture/Why do you take advantage of my weakness/You are using my pain/Have mercy/Haiti will change/We’ll see/This country will move forward/We’ll see Haiti will rise/We’ll see/Raise your hand and say yes.”  That revelation at the song’s end accounts for the song’s upbeat vibe.  And in hindsight it actually heightens the emotion in the remainder of the song’s lyrical content.  The song’s other lines come across as being deeply emotional at first glance.  But considering that revelation at the song’s end it makes them more of a statement of what the people of Haiti have been put through rather than some oh-woe-is-me statement.  It is a commentary that in whole says despite everything that has happened to the people of Haiti, Haiti will prevail and improve.  It gives the story presented in the song’s lyrical content a wholly different identity.  In turn it leaves listeners thinking even more deeply and talking after the fact.  Keeping that in mind it shows even more why this song is another prime example of what makes Wa Di Yo stand out among this year’s crop of World Music offerings.  Even as important as it is it still is not the last example of what makes the album stand out.  ‘Poze’ (‘Calm Down’) is one more important addition to the album’s body.

‘Wa Di Yo’ and ‘Anba Siklon’ are both key additions to Lakou Mizik’s new album Wa Di Yo.  That is because both songs will leave people thinking and talking long after they (and the album) have ended thanks to the juxtaposition of their lyrical and musical content.  As important as both songs are in presenting the album’s strengths they are anything but the only notable additions to the album.  ‘Poze’ (‘Calm Down’) is just as notable as those songs.  The song’s lyrical content stands as its foundation.  It presents a message that is familiar to every corner of the musical universe.  The message in question is a statement of confidence.  It comes across as a statement to a person’s detractors, noting to those people, “Calm down you people/Keep quiet I say/You people badmouthing me/I won’t pay attention/A message for you/I say keep calm!.”  The song cites an old expression (perhaps Haitian expression?) in its message, noting “Staying calm is the best medicine for the body/You may not fall if you’re not guilty/I’m the strongest/I beat you/I break the record/You agree/After this whip/Your heart pounds/You might ask God to take your life/I put you down calmly.”  The song goes on to point a finger at the gossips and naysayers, leaving no doubt as to the strength of those that stand against said figures.  Yet again the song’s musical content is in direct contrast to its lyrical content.  If this had been penned by any American act it likely would have been quite forceful in terms of its musical content.  Yet here, the song’s musical content is upbeat and just as celebratory as the album’s other songs.  It serves to show again an inner strength in the song’s subject.  Whether in regards to a celebrity addressing the gossip hounds and critics or just a person in general having to deal with people running their mouths the positive vibes presented in the song’s musical and lyrical content paint a picture that listeners will want to experience time and again.  The same can be said of the album’s other offerings.  All things considered Wa Di Yo proves in the end to be the best new World Music offering so far this year.

Wa Di Yo, the debut offering from Lakou Mizik is a solid start for the Haitian music collective.  That is because from its thought-provoking opener to its equally insightful closer it keeps listeners completely engaged.  Its musical  and lyrical content are both at the center of that engagement.  Whether making social statements, semi-political commentaries, or tackling other topics, Lakou Mizik impresses with its debut album from start to finish.  Wa Di Yo will be available in stores and online Friday, April 1st.  More information on the album is available online along with all of the group’s latest news at:

 

 

Website: http://www.lakoumizik.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LakouMizik

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LakouMizik

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

At The Edge Of The Beginning Is A Solid New Beginning For Idan Raichel

Courtesy:  Cumbancha

Courtesy: Cumbancha

Later this month, Idan Raichel will release his latest full-length album At The Edge of the Beginning. The album, his first solo recording, surprisingly bears a fitting name. That is because not only is it the first time that he has recorded an album not under the moniker of The Idan Raichel Project but being released at the beginning of a new year and being such an intriguing recording, it is a good new beginning for Raichel so to speak in the beginning of a new year. It is also a good way for those that are not so familiar with Raichel’s work to begin learning about him and his body of work. Audiences will appreciate about this record the mix of Raichel’s gentle performance on the piano in each song and the songs’ equally moving lyrical content. There are a couple of more slightly up-tempo pieces included in the record’s eleven-song body. But for the most part, it is a record that will keep listeners engaged because of its overall gentility. That is evident right off the top in the album’s instrumental opener ‘To Wait.’ This beautiful, flowing piece sounds like a piece that was taken right from some major motion picture’s soundtrack. ‘In The Wilderness,’ the album’s third offering, is another example of what makes the album’s mix of musical and lyrical content so powerful in this album. ‘Before It Ends’ is one more fitting example of what makes Idan Raichel’s new album such an interesting starting point for those that might be new to his music. It is another piece that mixes one part soft, gentle musical content and one part equally soft, moving lyrical content for a song that will touch listeners on so many levels. It is just one more example, too. There are eight other songs that could be cited in their own way as examples of what makes this record such a good new start for Idan Raichel. All things considered, At The Edge of the Beginning shows in the end to be a record that is all the way around, a good new beginning for Idan Raichel.

Idan Raichel’s new solo full-length studio recording At The Edge of the Beginning is a good new beginning for the Israeli-born singer/songwriter. That is because with its eleven total songs and thirty-one-minute run time Raichel takes listeners on a journey that will move listeners in so many ways beginning with the album’s instrumental opener ‘To Wait.’ This song sounds like a piece that could have come from the soundtrack of any major drama churned out by Hollywood’s power five studios. That likely wasn’t Raichel’s intent in composing this piece. One can almost see someone standing at the window of a quaint cottage as the gentle strains of Raichel’s piano line plays overtop. The shot gently fades from a wide shot to a close-up, and then follows the unnamed figure through the cottage as the seasons change outside of the building. It could be a man or woman waiting for the other. Or it could be a parent waiting for a grown-up child to come home from perhaps college during the holidays. In the end the figure for whom the main subject waits finally arrives, resulting in a happy, warm embrace. That is of course just this critic’s interpretation. Regardless of the musical portrait that Raichel was painting here ,the very fact that he leaves so much room for interpretation through the song’s beautiful, moving musical makeup makes fully clear why this song is such a good example of what makes this record a good new beginning for Raichel and his new audiences. It is just one example of what makes Raichel’s new album a good new beginning for both Raichel and his audiences. ‘In The Wilderness’ is another good example of what makes ATEOTB (as it wil henceforth be called) such a good new beginning all the way around.

‘To Wait’ is a solid example of what makes Idan Raichel’s new album ATEOTB a good new beginning both for himself and for his audiences. That is because through its full-on instrumental approach one wouldn’t even stop to think of it as being an international piece. Rather, it sounds more like something that was made specifically for some major motion picture from one of Hollywood’s Power Five studios. ‘In The Wilderness’ is another song that coud be cited as an example of what makes ATEOTB such a good new beginning all the way around. Yonatan Fridge sets the song’s foundation with his gentle guitar line here. Raichel’s own vocal talents set against Alon Carmelly’s work on double bass adds even more enjoyment to the song. The song’s lyrical content couples with that musical content to complete the song to make it one that will move listeners in so many ways. As Raichel sings here, “Everyone goes out/Everyone comes back/In the wilderness everyone strays/Into the desert/To this love which is ours.” One can’t help but wonder if these lines, when taken into consideration with the song’s title, are collectively a reference to the biblical story of Jesus going out into the wilderness. The combination of both elements together then is used as a point to relate to listeners, saying in essence that we have or will go/gone out into the proverbial wilderness at one point or another but we all come out okay in the end. It is a welcome, positive message. And when set against the song’s musical content, both elements come together to show clearly why ‘Into The Wilderness’ is one more welcome addition to Idan Raichel’s new album. In turn it serves to show even more why ATEOTB is such a good new beginning for both Raichel and his audiences. And even as impressive as it proves to be in the end, it is still not the only remaining example of what makes this album worth hearing. ‘Before It Ends,’ which closes out the album, is one more example of what makes ATEOTB such an interesting recording, and in turn such a solid new beginning for Raichel and his audiences.

‘To Wait’ and ‘In The Wilderness’ are both key examples in their own right of what makes Idan Raichel’s latest solo effort such a solid new beginning for Raichel and his audiences. While both songs show clearly what makes this record worth hearing, they are hardly the only examples of what makes it worth hearing. The album’s closer ‘Before It Ends’ could just as easily be cited as yet another of the album’s positives. In regards to its musical content it is yet another gentle piece that is certain to keep listeners engaged. That is thanks in large part to the Hagai Rehavia’s work on guitar and of course Raichel’s equally moving vocal delivery. He sings here of having a certain inner strength to face life’s uncertainties even despite the risks involved. “Be not afraid to fall in love/That the heart will break/Be not afraid to lose along the way,” he writes here. “To get up every morning/And to go out into the world/And to try everything before it ends/To search from whence we came/And in the end always return to the beginning/To find yet more beauty in everything/And to dance until overcome by exhaustion or love.” The rest of the song proceeds much in the same fashion in terms of its lyrical content. These deeply moving lyrics set against the song’s equally moving lyrical content to make the song a proper, fitting final statement from Idan Raichel in this new album. It makes the song one more example of what makes the album in whole a solid new beginning for Idan Raichel and his audiences. Together with the previously noted songs all three compositions make ATEOTB clearly a wonderful new start for Idan Raichel and his listeners. The same could be said for the likes of ‘Looking at the Moon,’ ‘Circles,’ ‘Little Girl of Mine,’ and ‘In Five Seconds.’ Whether for those songs or the pieces more directly noted here, it can be said of each one that it serves as its own good example of what makes Idan Raichel’s new album a solid new beginning all the way around. that being the case it can be said of ATEOTB that this new record is an early candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new world music albums.

Idan Raichel shows time and again over the course of his latest full-length solo recording that his new album is a solid a welcome new beginning both for himself and for his audiences. The largely gentle musical content presented throughout the record and deeply moving and thought-provoking lyrical content of each song combine to make the album in whole a record that audiences–regardless of their familiarity with Raichel’s body of work–will agree is an early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new world music albums. It will be available in stores and online next Friday, January 22nd. It can be downloaded direct via iTunes by way of Raichel’s official website at http://idanraichelproject.com/en/album/%D7%94%D7%99%D7%93-%D7%94%D7%97%D7%9E%D7%94/. More information on this and other titles from Idan Raichel is available online now along with Raichel’s latest news at:

Website: http://idanraichelproject.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/IdanRaichel

Twitter: http://twitter.com/idanraichel

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philpicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Amonafi Is One Of 2015’s Top New World Music Offerings

Courtesy:  Cumbancha

Courtesy: Cumbancha

Internationally known singer-songwriter Daby Toure released his latest full-length studio recording late last month. The album, Amonafi, means “once upon a time” in the West African language Wolof. It is a fitting title for his new solo album, his fifth. That is because throughout the course of the album’s thirteen songs ,Toure does more than just write songs. He crafts musical tales that will keep every listener engaged. That is just one part of what makes this record such an interesting listen for everyone. The variety of sounds exhibited throughout the course of the record adds to the interest established through the songs’ lyrical content. The lyrical and musical content together go a long way toward making Amonafi a record well worth the listen. By themselves they can only do so much, though. The album’s companion booklet brings everything together. That is because while Toure sings each song wholly in an appparent mix of French and Wolof, there is a translated explanation behind each song. This is right along the same lines as an opera’s program explaining each scene of said production for those that don’t speak a foreign language. It helps give each song a clearer context and leads to a deeper appreciation for each song in whole and in turn a deeper appreciation for Toure’s new album in whole. That overall appreciation will lead to the realization that this record is one more that any critic should have on his or her list of the year’s best new World Music albums.

Daby Toure’s fourth full-length studio recording is a collection of songs that regardless of listeners’ familiarity with his body of work, or their native language, every listener will enjoy. That is because it is one of those rare records that makes a real effort to take the road less travelled from the album’s outset. That is most evident in the album’s lyrical content. The lyrical content presented throughout the course of Amonafi’s thirteen goes a long way toward making the record live up to its title. The songs are not just the typical three to five minute pieces that one would expect to hear from so many mainstream compositions. Case in point the album’s opener ‘Woyoyoye.’ As Toure notes in the album’s liner notes of the song, it is a work about a beautiful woman that every man in her village admires. One of those men, an unnamed admirer, describes every detail of the woman as she makes her way through the village. There’s no romance per se here. It is almost the type of thing one might see and hear in a fairy tale–a beautiful woman strolling through town, being admired by all of the men and envied by the women. The music accompanying the story, which will be discussed shortly, serves greatly to illustrate the story even for those that might not speak French or Wolof. Getting back on track, the story presented here is just one of the songs featured in the body of Amonafi that helps the album live up to its name. The album’s title track, which centers on the beginnings of the slave trade, is another example of how the album’s songs make it such a solid collection. Toure doesn’t attempt to be preachy in his lyrical approach to this song. That is obvious in his delivery of his song. But he definitely succeeds in touching listeners emotionally. Just as interesting to take in are Toure’s introspective ruminations about days gone by in ‘Kille.’ He writes in this song from the vantage of a person fondly remembering those better, simpler times. As with the previously noted songs and those not noted, Toure’s delivery of the song’s lyrical content makes interpetation simple enough that listeners don’t have to necessarily know the language in which the song is sung. His delivery clearly translates the song’s emotion. And together with the explanation provided by Toure ahead of the songs, the pairing of both elements makes it (and the album’s other songs) that much more enjoyable. The enjoyment provided by the Amonafi’s lyrical content is just one part of what makes this record such an interesting and enjoyable collection of compositions. The musical content within each song adds even more to the album’s enjoyment. Together with the songs’ lyrical content, both songs will have keep any listener engaged. This includes both those that speak Wolof and French and those that are less familiar with either language.

The musical content presented throughout the course of Amonafi’s forty minute run time couples with the album’s lyrical content to form thirteen songs that are sure to keep listeners engaged from beginning to end. This is the case both for those that are more familiar with Wolof and French and for those that are fluent only in English. That is because Toure pays close attention to each song in regards to its musical content. He makes it clear with the album’s musical content that he wanted to be able to translate his songs as thoroughly as possible regardless of listeners’ fluency with given languages. The light, airy sound of ‘Woyoyoye,’ the album’s opener is a prime example of this. It is a fun, almost bouncy sound for lack of better wording that expertly paints the picture of the young woman of whom her admirer sings. It just as impressively exhibits the townspeople admiring her as she makes her way through her village. This is truly interesting because it shows Toure’s ability to paint a picture just as much with music as with words. Even if he had stuck solely with the music and just given the introduction to the song that is in the album’s booklet, those two elements alone would have given the song just as much of an impact on listeners. In ‘Amonafi,’ the album’s title track, that expert attention to detail is exhibited just as clearly. Listeners will note first of the song that it was composed in a minor key. This within itself sets a certain emotional tone that will catch listeners’ ears. The urgency in the song’s seeming 3/4 tempo alongside the cong’s overall arrangement (including its minor key presentation) helps to drive home the story of the African people being kidnapped, ripped if one will, from their homeland. He makes that transition from their happy freedom to enslavement clear throughout the course of the song’s progression. And as with the album’s opener, that understanding coupled with the song’s English introduction serve together to paint yet another picture that is just as hard-hitting without lyrics as it is with them. As if that wasn’t enough example of the power of the album’s musical content, the musical content presented in ‘Kille’ serves as just as much of an example of that power. It isn’t necessarily a full-on celebratory sound. But Toure and company do present a solid, upbeat sound that clearly expresses the positive emotions felt by someone recalling happy memories. The use of traditional African instruments partnered with western instruments paints a bright, happy picture that might even leave listeners remembering their own share of happy memories. It is that powerful, emotionally. And that’s a good thing. Whether through the songs noted here, or through any of the album’s other compositions Amonafi’s musical content shows once again just why the album’s musical content is just as important to its enjoyment as that of its lyrics. Both elements together prove even more why Amonafi is deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new world music albums.

Both the musical and lyrical content presented throughout the course of Amonafi play their own pivotal roles in the album’s general effect. The general effect, in case it wasn’t already clear, is quite positive. While both noted elements are equally important to that positive effect, the inclusion of the songs’ English translated introductions plays just as much of a role as those previously noted elements. That is because without said introductions, any understanding (and in turn appreciation) of the songs would go right out the window. There are no English translations included for the songs’ lyrics included in the album’s companion booklet. So having the English-translated introductions to each song essentially tells the story (again reference to the album’s title) of each song for audiences that might only speak English and in turn means more ability to reach said audiences. It is the final touch on an album that together with its musical paintings and original stories is a record that is one of the year’s most best new, original world music offerings.

Amonafi is one of this year’s best new world music offerings. That is thanks in large part to its collection of original stories, which in and of themselves serve to help this record live up to its title. The musical content presented within each of the album’s songs adds even more enjoyment as it shows together with the English-translated introductions that these songs can be just as enjoyable solely as musical compositions as full musical and lyrical presentations. Speaking of those English-translated introductions, they are the album’s finishing touch. They are the very foundation of each of the album’s songs especially for Toure’s English-speaking audiences. Together with the songs’ musical content and the original stories presented throughout the album, all three elements serve to show Amonafi as one of this year’s best new world music offerings. Amonafi is available now in stores and online, and can be ordered direct via Toure’s official website at http://www.dabytoure.com. More information on Amonafi is available online now at:

Website: http://www.dabytoure.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dabytouremusic

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.