Eneida Marta - Lope Kai
Iris Music (www.iris-music.com)
Guinea-Bissau is a tiny country of just over a million inhabitants. What were the odds that someone with Eneida Marta's talent would come out of such a small pool? This sultry, easy-going collection of songs makes the question moot.
Though the first track explodes from the speakers with thundering drums and Latin-tinged keyboards, the rest of the disc takes a smoother road. Marta's voice is warm and throaty, with wise but not yet world-weary phrasing. Though there's sadness around the edges, she hasn't forgotten how to party, if the title track and the dynamic "Garandessa" tell us anything. "Considju" bubbles along on woody percussion and jazz saxophone. Marta does a parallel scat riff with Tony Dùdu's electric guitar. The sparkling, kora-driven "Mindjer Dôce Mel" shows a softer, deeper side, although they could do without the '70's-era keyboards on this one and on the otherwise lovely ballad "N'Pirdi Coragem." Producer, arranger, and keyboard player Juca Delgado does such a tasteful job putting the disc together that we can forgive a couple of lapses on the keys. The velvety background vocals on most of the tracks provide an inviting cushion under Marta's alluring voice.
Lope Kai is an engaging work on many levels. Captivating vocals, clean production, and crisp pacing make it a winner. - Peggy Latkovich
CD available from cdRoots
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