2018 vinyl LP pressing.
The title track of Leyla McCalla’s third album shows the 33-year-old singer and multi-instrumentalist is not fooling around. Born in New York to Haitian parents, McCalla’s previous two records have referenced the 1920s Harlem poet Langston Hughes and the diaspora of American folk she first explored with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, also the alma mater of sister-in-arms Rhiannon Giddens.
Now resident in New Orleans, McCalla pushes musical boundaries here, using a Crescent City trad band for her complaint against “the cold, cold world” of capitalism, dropping into calypso for the more explicit Money Is King, and adopting zydeco accordion for the upbeat Oh My Love. Haiti and New Orleans have Creole in common, which McCalla considers “the language of resistance” and which she uses on three of the more acoustic tracks. There’s more protest on Heavy as Lead, a slice of slow, churchy soul that laments water poisoning, and Aleppo, a noisy commentary on the Syrian conflict. Whether accusation or celebration, McCalla’s vocals bring a light, melodic touch, managing to sound both earnest and playful; even without her cello, she remains a complete one-off.
Neil Spencer - The Guardian
Be The First To Review This Product!
Help other Birdland Records users shop smarter by writing reviews for products you have purchased.