Manze Dayila and the Nago Nation
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Manze Dayila and the Nago Nation
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As good as purely authentic Haitian roots music may be, singer Manze Dayila (who arrived in the U.S. by boat as a pregnant teenage refugee 20 years ago) does it a fresh turn on her debut CD. Vocally, Dayila is like a grittier Emeline Michel, singing from someplace deep inside with a focused longing that grabs from the outset. It's the sort of voice that cries out for creative arrangements, and this disc has them. A few tracks trace a path back to Africa through the use of kora and balafon, others jump boldly into reggae, jazz, Latin, Brazilian and Middle Eastern territory while keeping Dayila's Haitian foundation intact. Not everything works- there's a pair of songs sung in rap-infused English that come up flat and sometimes the production has too much techno intrusiveness. Still, there's enough here, like the pulsing mystery of the opening "Kwi," the gloriously acapella title track and the shades of highlife that fuel "Ibo," to make Sole well worth the occasional misstep. A most impressive start, and it'll be interesting to see where Dayila goes from here. - Tom Orr

CD available from cdroots

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CD available from cdroots

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