Music Reviews

So Kalmery


Pygmalion / Tinder

Congolese So Kalmery is a uniquely gifted musician who has never heard of boundaries (either national or musical). This resident of Paris and Guadeloupe soaks up cultural influences like a sponge, pouring them into your ear as a beautiful, melodic hybrid that unleashes a kaleidoscopic sound into your brain. Kalmery speaks and sings in 15 different languages and has unleashed a delectable musical gumbo that includes South African jive, blues, his native soukous, gospel, and rumba. Hell, this guitarist even dabbles with the didgeridoo and tablas.

Now, with all this happening on one disc, one might expect a schizophrenic cacophony to bleed the eardrums. However, Kalmery delivers a melodic, sweet album that exudes bittersweet joy and power, oddly enough reminiscent of Brazil’s Chico Cesar with the experimental flair of Ray Lema. Bendera is a joy to listen to, and I strongly recommend this superior, one-of-a-kind voice in African music (did I mention he was a student of Diop?). This is a perfect album for the cooling haze of a summer evening – when one wants to unwind into a pleasant, little groove.

Tinder Records:

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