by: Papa Wemba

This nice album of vocal work from the Congolese superstar Papa Wemba harks back to his childhood in Matongue (nicknamed Molokai by some of the locals). Wemba shows off some nice work with his voice soaring over the textures created by his band and backup vocalists. Moreover, on the initial track, "Excuse Me," he makes his a cappella debut, without the security blanket of light instrumental work that normally accompanies him. This security blanket really shines through most often, however, as synthesizers mix with guitars and percussion to create a seamless texture of sound to back up Wemba's vocals all the way. This texture of sound can at time drop to the level of complicated elevator music, but in general holds itself above the usual standards for an accompanying band, with tight arrangements but soft wave fronts. The music can be relatively quick in tempo, but will still hold at a relatively relaxing energy level. The music is bouncy and uplifting in alternating turns with softer and soothing. This is Wemba at his best, providing nice works for himself and the bandmembers to display their prowess. Pick it up as an established fan of Papa Wemba or as a fan of African music who may be looking for something from the Congo aside from straight soukous. ~ Adam Greenberg

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