Corneille The Birth of Cornelius

Corneille The Birth of Cornelius

With his third release, and first English-language album, The Birth of Cornelius, German-born, Rwandan-raised and Montreal-based Corneille Nyungura has successfully attempted to secure a foothold in the neo-soul scene. Corneille is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide — he hid behind a couch while his family was massacred — an atrocity that informed his first two French discs: 2002’s Parce qu’ on vient de loin and 2005’s Les Marchands de reves, which both sold platinum worldwide. For The Birth of Cornelius, Nyungura has utilised the superb string arrangements of legendary Philadelphia cellist and MFSB alumnus Larry Gold to craft a fine-tuned set of romantic and socially conscious soul. "Back To Life” and "Love is Good” are nice, mellow grooves awash in analog warmth and soothing strings that complement Nyungura’s crystal clear tenor. If Nyungura, at times, seems a tad too reminiscent of John Legend, all is forgiven by the midway point. "Sweet Dependency” is a funky down-tempo number with just the right amount of keyboard and string sweetening, which could have come straight out of Sigma Sound circa 1974, and the bitter, acoustic "I'll Never Call You Home Again” is a scathing look back at the Rwandan tragedy filled with righteous indignation. Cornelius has just been born but it looks like he has a fascinating life ahead of him. (DEJA/Warner)