“An ageless hybrid with no stylistic borders.”
So says reviewer Bill Friskics-Warren in today’s Washington Post about Zemelewa.
He goes on to cite no fewer than 13 different genres of music in describing Zieti’s sound, including afrobeat, highlife, Congolese rumba, juju, Tex-mex, cajun, latin, funk, jazz, blues, rock, New Orleans R&B and jazz-rock fusion. (What? He didn’t mention the Tuvan monk influence!)
Narcisse’s vocals earn him comparisons with Van Morrison and Tabu Ley Rochereau, which is rarified air indeed. And guitarist Victor Crisen has got to be happy with his soloing on Mandedi being called “Santana-like.”
Friskics-Warren concludes: “However unfamiliar their words may be to English-speaking listeners, the urgency in Narcisse’s raspy tenor and in the vocal call-and-response on the album speaks volumes. And it’s not just the voices, but also the haunting beauty of the record’s melodies and the pointed interplay of the players’ crisscrossing rhythms.”