Ajoyo: Ajoyo

African sounds and moods are prevalent on this exciting and visceral release by Ajoyo, which features the lead vocals of Sarah Elizabeth Charles. Her clear and earnest voice is surrounded by a band that veers towards Western Afro Pop; Alon Albagli/g, Can Olgun/p-key, Folso Mimy /perc, Fred Doumbe/g, Yacine Boulares/reeds, and Guilhem Flouzat-Thierry Arpino/dr create densely rhythmic pieces like “Jekoro” and the guitar riffing “Chocot” which mixes Boulares’ soprano with 70s soul. Lots of tribal sounds fill the ears in vocal calls and response on “Benskin” and traditional guitar picks are as warm as the Sahel on “The Pearl.” The sounds get real earthy and folksy on “Houb Ouna” but the team also gets into funky R&B as on “Idanwo.” The mix of the traditional folk music with modern sounds is exciting and forward looking, and Charles knows how to tell a story, and tell it convincingly. Impressive!

Ropeadope Records


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