Music buzz | Opinions (Jul/Aug 2022)

This month’s listening picks from the Caribbean — that includes new music by Kobo City; Horace Andy; Shaggy; Josean Jacobo; Dean Fraser & Ernie Ranglin; and Daniel Bellegarde

Kobo City

Carnival of the Ghosts (Stonetree Data)

Calypso is a lyricist’s and performer’s artwork. Phrases matter. The supply of these phrases — ideally self-penned — makes the distinction between calypsonian and calypso singer. Drew Gonsalves — initially from Trinidad, now resident in Canada — and his band Kobo City problem the position of the calypsonian in a contemporary world separate from the competitions of Trinidad and the World music push of world file firms.

What’s sacred to Caribbean ears as a wealthy native style is made to be a commodity for world consumption, one thing that has evaded many outdoors the Caribbean diaspora within the US and UK because the Forties. And that isn’t a nasty factor, definitely not right here on this new album of 10 lyrically numerous songs.

Gonsalves tells us that this new file is “a group of songs concerning the human situation — about our quirks and foibles, our anxieties and hopes, and the haunting sense of impermanence that imbues our each second with its urgency and priceless price.” Lyrical extra with pressing polysyllabic wordplay make for attention-grabbing listening: I’d deal with pure choice like divine election / Wouldn’t need to tamper with nature’s legal guidelines / If the conscience is a fiction, it’s a menacing malediction / A spoonful of guilt which solely spoils the sauce. Whew!

Belizean Ivan Duran, who had a hand in Calypso Rose’s late-career rebirth, works his manufacturing magic on this album. Trendy sound concepts combine with the recalled spirits of classic calypsonians Roaring Lion and Atilla the Hun to make this album not a lot new calypso wrapped in outdated garments, however a reckoning of what calypso could be within the twenty first century.

Horace Andy

Midnight Rocker (On-U Sound)

Horace Andy has one of the vital distinctive voices in Jamaican music, making his trademark “vibrato-heavy falsetto” the flavour of Nineteen Seventies dub music and signalling Huge Assault’s mid-90s trip-hop apex. His new album — a mixture of finely produced originals and remade classics from his oeuvre — showcases a richer mature voice and delays a profession denouement.


Come Fly Wid Mi (Cherrytree Data)

“The Sinatra Songbook inna reggae stylee” is the subtitle of this compilation of songs made well-known by the Chairman of the Board, reimagined by eclectic rock celebrity Sting and sung by Shaggy. The pair doesn’t retreat to vapid style covers of the star’s catalogues, however shines an suave mild on how Jamaican Patois can infuse wit and island elan into timeless lyricism.

Josean Jacobo

Herencia Criolla (Self launched)

Pianist Josean Jacobo says: “I take the folkloric idioms, our conventional tradition, African-Dominican heritage, and I mix it with up to date jazz in a trio setting.” That assertion aptly describes his new album, however doesn’t convey the extent of the rhythmic impression one can hear. Bachata and merengue pulses cement a brand new island jazz aesthetic.

Dean Fraser & Ernie Ranglin

Two Colours (Tad’s File)

When legends get collectively to file new music, the artistic prospects are infinite. Ranglin (a 90-year-old Jamaican guitar icon, whose nimble chops and contact are undiminished) joins Fraser (sax aspect man to each world reggae star) on a jazz, ska and reggae instrumental journey that’s ageless, and cherishes legacies. Collab heaven.

Daniel Bellegarde

Pastourelle (Self launched)

Bellegarde — a Canada-based percussionist of Haitian descent — explores rural music from Haiti and the French West Indies as an ongoing train in heritage recall. The quadrille, the contredanse, the waltz, and even the Creole polka are heard as inspiration for originals, and covers of Haitian and Martiniquan traditional tunes give this album deserved gravitas.


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