Thursday, 19 February 2009

Various Artists - Independent Soul Divas

This is a very refreshing compilation of some of the finest independent female talent about at the moment. Lola Waxx have done a cracking job here and have collected together an eclectic mix of new and established artists covering the broad spectrum of quality black music today. One track on here has been covered by Soulchoonz previously, such as Lina's excellent stepper groove, “Feel The Love” complete with stylish and inoffensive rap. Nice to see this Lady singled out and given prominence on here. The first song was enough for me to sit up and take notice. Maya Neiada hails from Atlanta, and offers us a really bountiful slab of uptempo positive soul music with “I Need A Moment”. I can imagine Kloud 9 in the mix here – it's that sort of quality uptempo groove, so if you enjoyed their “Vibe Room” set then you will love this. Another youngster is Chanel who released her album on Mapp Records recently and from that release comes the excellent swayer, “Lovely Day”. The bassline may have been heavily borrowed from Keith Barrow's “You Want To Be Loved” but the clapping beat, tinkling ivories and sweet vocals add an extra something. Very nice too! My next choice is the meaty and no-nonsense “Taking Over” by Lenora Jaye. The heavy beats, dreamy keys and eerie synth struck me instantly, and the song is very strong and the delivery is very chilled and laid-back. The atmosphere is brooding, and the horns and synths add some serious grit to the proceedings. Rene Jones is well known here in the UK thanks to her well-received “Chill factor” album and this throwback song “Summer Day” with it's darting string-synths is one that will not fail to impress fans of old. I really appreciate the acoustic and optimistic “Flow Like A River”. Imagine India.Arie's sort of uptempo groove without the drudgery but with some real spark and a vibrant vocal such as Chanté Moore without the Urban edge and you are there! The sexy and meandering “Breath” by Nikkole is lifted from her forthcoming album, “Creolpatra” so if “Breath” is anything to go by then it will be set worth exploring! No introduction is needed for the legendary Rena Scott. I am sure you all own a copy of her SUPERB 2004 CD, “Let Me Love You”. You will, I am sure, recall an excellent track entitled “I Know It's Right”. Well, especially for this compilation Rena has updated the song for 2008 and has given it an edgier, eerier sound that works well and does not detract from the original. Excellent stuff. There are a number of other tunes on here to soak in, and I am sure you will find that there is a lot of talent out there, and all outside the clutches of the major labels. As I have said for years, there is nothing like an artist making the music they want to make and giving the public the music they want to listen to. The more independent Independent Soul Divas there are the better!

Barry Towler

Buy on Amazon