Carmen Souza Protegit

Carmen Souza Protegit
Jazz singer, keyboardist and guitarist Carmen Souza has been lauded for her expressive style and vocal command. With Protegit, her third release, Souza eases the listener into the album with "M'sta Li Ma Bô" ("I'm Here for You") and "Afri Ká" ("Africa"), two mid-tempo, lounge-y tracks that shyly display Souza's subtle, yet powerful, gift. Groans, squeaks, percussive exclamations and other non-verbal utterances are all examples of the voice used as an instrument, and not just by Souza, but by her band as well. Singing mostly in Cape Verde Creole — a political, as well as aesthetic, choice ("Nation Language," to borrow a term from Edward Braithwaite) — Souza croons and purrs her way through stunning track after stunning track. Driving hard on the lively "Tentê Midj," only to evoke aching despair on "Sodade," Souza's voice is the embodiment of emotion. If there is a competitor for the album's spotlight, and the nexus of Protegit's Euro-African-Caribbean rhythmic influences, however, it is most certainly the percussion. With a small battery of instruments designed to be hit, pounded and bashed, the drumming emphasizes the "world" in world-class jazz. (Galileo)