Nu Mondo | Times Square
By BANNING EYRE  |  June 19, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
The latest talent to emerge from the Cape Verdean archipelago adds new power and sophistication to an alluring national genre, and also to the ever growing ranks of acoustic Afropop. Tcheka is a terrific guitarist, and he has a voice capable of gentle sweetness as well as angst worthy of Salif Keita, as on Nu Mondo’s telling opener, “Agonia.” It’s a fine, hornlike voice that, along with his sharp guitar riffs and rhythmically savvy arrangements, gives emotional heft to a sound that might otherwise drift into easy listening. From the percussion-rich funk of “Djam Kré Bejabu” to the angular, piquant 6/8 of “Makriadu,” these songs deliver rootsy messages about rural life, domestic violence, poverty, the great drought of 1947, love, marriage, and the Devil — all with a modern twist. Restlessness, nostalgia, and grief intermingle with honed songcraft and jazz-worthy musicianship. Despite the smooth æsthetics and the immaculate production, Tcheka manages to keep it real.

Tcheka + Cesaria Évora | Berklee Performance Center, 136 Mass Ave, Boston | June 23 | 617.9231.2000
Related: Salif Keita, The news from Africa, Salif Keita | La Différence, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Salif Keita, Cesaria Evora
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