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  1. Didadi Horns (4:34)

  2. Soukara (5:45)

  3. Strange Fruit (2:19)

  4. Strange Fruits (4:47)

  5. If Jesus… (5:11)

  6. I Can’t Sleep Tonight (4:17)

  7. Sehet Jesus (4:17)

  8. Les enfants de la rue (5:36)

  9. Choeurs Pygmees (3:19)

  10. Some Days (10:51)

  11. Farka (5:52)

  12. Duga (2:46)



    Strange Fruit is a varied collection of world jazz from a large group of contributors, many who perform on several tracks. This album was produced by Fabrizio Cassol, Jean Lamoot and Eric Legnini. It was previously released on the Blue Note/EMI label in 2012.

    Didadi Horns is an African-rhythm piece featuring Malian musician Baba Sissoko singing and accompanying himself on the tamani talking drum, Zoumana Tereta performing on the so kou one-string violin, and Fabriozio Cassol on alto sax leading an eight-piece ensemble.

    Soukara is an exotic tune in 9/8 time that mostly oscillates between two chords. It is sung by Malian alto Oumou Sangare, also known as “The Songbird of Wassoulou”, a region south of the Niger River. She is accompanied by finger-picking guitarist Manu Codija and the 40 member La Choraline choir from Brussels. Strange Fruit is sung by soprano Claron McFadden, accompanied by Eric Legini on piano. From a poem written in 1930 by Abel Meeropol and later put to music, the term is a metaphor for lynching victims hanging from trees. Billie Holiday first recorded the slow, brutal tune in 1939 and it became one of her biggest sellers. The lyrics are unforgettable; Claron’s sad, mournful voice rises when it describes the sight of gently swinging bodies, their mouths twisted and eyes bulging, and the coarse smell of their burnt flesh. Claron also sings another version of the tune, Strange Fruits, this time accompanied by the La Choraline choir and a more rhythmic orchestral background of tama drummers, piano and electric bass.

    If Jesus… is performed to a slow funky-strut beat with Kris Dane singing and playing guitar, assisted by Melissa Givens’ soaring vocals. Eric Legnini provides accompaniment on the Hammond organ. Oumare Sangare sings Les enfants de la rue, a slow, bluesy number with backup vocalists Pamela Badiogo Mahapa and Djeneba Dansoko, the La Choraline choir, and Sekouh Bah and Michel Hatzigeorgiou, both playing electric bass. One of the most interesting tunes is the lovely composition Choeurs Pygmees, inspired by a pygmy melody, and sung a cappella by Congo-born Marie Daulne and Kezia Daulne, who alternate and harmonize their voices to sound like ringing bells. They are accompanied by the outstanding voices of the La Choraline choir.

    This music was recorded between 2006 and 2010 by recording engineers Michel Andina, Jean Lamoot, Yaya Diarra and Eric Legnini at Jet Studio, Studio Dada, Studio MA, ICP Studio, and Azena Studio in Brussels, Studio Ferber in Paris, and Studio Yeelen in Bamako, Mali. The sound quality is excellent. An 8-page booklet is included with comments and credits in French and English.

    Bruce McCollum


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