King Selewa & His Calypsonians Back to Mi Home

The second release since African-born King Selewa came under the spell of calypso, Back to Mi Home revisits calypso's heyday with newsy lyrics, thick rhythmic layers and largely acoustic instrumentation. The percussion on the album is rich, sewing together a trans-Atlantic tapestry of Afro-Caribbean and African influences ― check out the heavy Afrobeat drumming on "Reverend Jones," for instance, or the Cuban feel to "Ikun Bodola." Tracks like the ludic, biographical "Selewa," a tune cast in the kaiso carnival tent mould, and "Congo War" tap into the life vein of vintage calypso. And even though a reggae-ified cover of Gershwin's "Summertime" doesn't seem like a good idea, Selewa and band stamp out an original version. Likewise, the reworked version of the Paragons' "Ridin' on a High and Windy Day" is the album's standout track. Where the album fails to reach its potential though is in Selewa's often understated, even shaky vocal performances, and his sometimes derivative lyrics. (Arc)