Album Review: Carlou D. - Muzikr. / Motherland music - World Village ****

Carlou D. was a member of the 90’s Senegalese band, Positive Black Soul who can claim to have been one of the first African hip-hop bands, but this new album, coming nearly twenty years later is quite different: a real break with the past in some way.  From the very first notes, an overwhelming spiritual feeling arises, a call and response chant ending with a high pitched wail reaching for the heavens: African Sufism at its best. Gradually the rhythm picks up and you cannot help riding this wave of well being, unsure what to sing but wanting to sing along.  This is followed by soft guitar based bluesy Mbalax punctuated by vocal harmonies very reminiscent of Cheikh Lo’s work, but at the same time quite unique. Indeed, both of them are devotees of the same spiritual guide, Cheikh Ibra Fall. Very delicate arrangements of kora, percussion and guitar follow but above all, voices softly coming in and out of a swinging beat lift the rest of the album, complemented by Carlou D.’s high voice recalling the timeless lyrical Milton Nascimento.  By the time the Goree track comes along with the added bonus of Youssou N’Dour’s support, you simply feel on different plane, touched deeply by Carlou D ‘s imaginative and uplifting vision of the world. This is all delivered with bouncy rhythms and socially aware lyrics which mention the all important struggles of his people towards a better life and the greed, as well as the hypocrisy and jealousy hindering their progress at times. Perfect album for the summer!

 

Joel Roszykiewicz