home   site updates   review digest   reviews   featured artists   discussion   links   about us  
 
Description
While this website has become known for its in-depth album and concert reviews, the digest contains concise comments on new music our audience has either recommended or might enjoy. Click on album covers or label names for links to further information. Click on the title to view the article.

Links
Digest Index
Current Digest
Instrumental Digest
 
Chiwoniso-Ancient Voices CD Cover
Image 2000 Tinder Records 
 

(03 September 2000) The debut album from Chimoniso Maraire, entitled Ancient Voices (Tinder Records (USA) 42859372, 2000), originally released in 1998 on the Lusafrica (France) label, is available as a domestic product for American audiences. Ten worldly tracks blend the artist's stunning crystalline lead vocals with richly produced instrumental arrangements. Lyrics are a mixture of English and other langugages, primarily from Zimbabwe.

Chimoniso, regarded as the star of a new generation, won the RFI prize for the most promising new singer in Africa in 1998. Her album combines traditional trance-music of the mbira (tuned metal strips attached to a sound board, and plucked with the thumbs) with modern arrangements supported by the band Andy Brown & the Storm.

Ancient Voices is a blend of new age, world and more accessible pop sounds and is certain to please a broad spectrum of audiences. Arrangements, while worldly at times, are equally contemporary. Chimoniso has a wonderful vocal range, resting in a spot between Maggie Reilly and Miriam Stockley, with excursions soaring into higher octaves as well. The album is rythmically oriented towards easy dance beats although far more easy listening than Miriam Stockley and Mae McKenna's work on Shabala.

"Madame 20 Cents" combines reggae rhythms with accessible tunes while stunning soaring vocals in both English and native tongues are supported by lovely harmonies. The guitar solo during the instrumental bridge and arrangements demonstrate the prowess of the supporting band. Lovers of Miriam Stockley's tribal style vocal layers or the sounds of Phil Sawyer's Beautiful World will be enthralled with the tracks "Mai," "Nhemamusasa," "Iwai Nesu" and "Wandirasa." Contemporary jazz-oriented tracks include "Ancient Voices," "The Way Of Life," "Tamari" and "Look to the Spirit" which has a slight reggae beat and a lovely flute part. The album closes with a soft rock tune entitled "Everyone's Child" sung primarily with acoustic guitar and mbira accompaniment. The instrumental bridge is richly produced with traditional sounds. Vocal work is sweet, evocative and crystalline and demonstrates the artist's viruousity.

You can find further reviews, hear several sound samples and order Chiwoniso's album Ancient Voices from amazon.com here. This album balances stunning vocal work with world, new age and pop instrumental arrangements. It is easy to understand why Chiwoniso won the RFI prize for being the most promising new African singer. Her vocal work, song writing is perfectly complimented by the superb production of this debut album. Clearly worth a cross country journey we think it is a must listen!

 
return to top
last updated on: