CD Reviews – January/February 2010

The new music that is reflecting the region right now

Culture of Love CD CoverKarmageddon CD Cover

Karmageddon

Karma

The Bissambhar siblings, Nisha, Ravi and Anil, are at it again with a hot and  peppery album that cleverly fuses the genres of soca chutney and dancehall.

They’re one of the hardest-working bands around, with countless gigs in the  the chutney and soca arenas during Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival every year, and the Karma energy is alive and well on this disc.

“Scorpion Reloaded” is the disc’s opener and from here it is musical pace until the final track.

The Bissambhars bring their playful onstage personalities to tracks like “Jep Sting”, “Tell Meh Where Yuh From” and  “Yahoo”, punctuating these songs with lively banter.

They also give their take on Indian playback songs like “Joraa Joraa”, and listen for Nisha’s treatment of “Mere Naseeb”, her vocals clear and ethereal. Nineties pop fans will also love the band’s take on Roxette’s “Listen to Your

Heart”, in which the group sings the chorus in Hindi and marries chutney with dance music for an impressive mix.

A good listen when you are in the mood to party.

Culture of Love

Russell Leonce

Those who have heard him always compare him to  (American neo-soul singer) John Legend. But there are times when you can easily mistake Leonce’s vocals for one of the Marley boys.

Vocal comparisons aside, Leonce has created his own buzz with his refreshing neo-gospel, a welcome change in the sea of standards handed down to the Caribbean from the US.

On this album his soulful and controlled vocals ring sincere on tracks like “Troubles Won’t Last”, “Don’t Cry”, the danceable “I Am” and the beautiful and lyrically sound “Unchanging”.

The disc’s “cultureludes” are shorts that show off Leonce’s vocal range. Old-school gospel listeners should be happy with his “Culturelude 3”, which features his vocals resting comfortably against a church organ.

The former background singer’s brand of gospel may not be the kind your mother used to listen to, since he also dabbles in reggae and R&B, but he never lets you forget who he is singing about: Almighty God. But the 14-track album is a great addition to any easy-listening collection.

The Best of Pamberi

Pamberi Steel Orchestra

Often, CDs featuring the steelband lack the high-definition sound of non-pan discs.  Thankfully The Best of Pamberi is not one of those, and is easy on the ear.

One of the youngest and most promising steelbands in T&T, Pamberi may not be a powerhouse like bands such as Renegades and Desperadoes, but their experimentation with different genres, including classical and jazz, on the pan is commendable.

The San Juan band reigns supreme on familiar tracks from soca and calypso songbooks, along with some loved jazz  standards. Songs on this disc include 90s soca  like Superblue’s “No Curfew”,  Byron Lee and the Dragonnaires’ “Soca Dance” and Taxi’s “Soki Soki”.

Jazz lovers will also  appreciate the effort that goes into in the band’s rendition of  “Night in Tunisia” and Dave Brubeck’s finger-snapping “Take Five”.  The band’s version of the melodic Mission Impossible theme can also be found here.

CDs courtesy www.trinidadtunes.com