This beautifully balanced and fully realised recording comes from a core collective of four forward looking musicians from around the world co-operating confidently with one another in this their first album together
All songs are sung in Fulani by Omar Ka, a young singer and acoustic guitarist from Senegal who currently resides in the Netherlands. He pours forth his earthy voice with unwavering power and intensity throughout, combining strength in delivery with a mellowness in tone. It’s most transfixing, as on the lilting closing track ‘Dadra Track’ which combines the Indian Dadra beat — that of six beats to a loop — with the Afro Cuban Arará melodies.
Complementing this and chasing the moods up attentively is the excellent flute playing of Mark Lotz. A prolific virtuoso, often heard collaborating, he brings a freshness to Omar’s songs adding jazzy runs and lengthy melodies to stretch the tracks beyond their initial impact.
The various rhythms and tempos, all of which flow seamlessly are held wonderfully by Afra Mussawisade, an Iranian percussionist who adds more than a little depth to the loping grooves. Juggling the pulse expertly between the various small percussion instruments he keeps with the lightness in textures which in turn allows space for the various tunes to breathe.
This also means that there is plenty of room for the contemporary guitar-scapes of Raphael Vanoli. “A virtual sensation of the Amsterdam music scene”, at times he is heard nestling quietly beneath the others, wrapping their sounds around in a blanket of whirs and hums, at other times cutting through with urgency and purpose, pushing the grooves on, as felt on the bouncy ‘Punjabi’.
It’s a combination which certainly could have jarred the components or at least rattled the foundations loose — but it comes across, through strong performances, with integrity and sincerity to give a record which morphs and unfolds naturally as a complete work. Excellently sequenced and mixed it is extremely satisfying experience from start to finish.
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