Various Umalali: The Garifuna Women's Project

Various Umalali: The Garifuna Women's Project
Recorded and produced by Ivan Duran, Umalali is part tradition, part modernity and all heart. Central America’s Garifuna communities are scarcely known internationally for their music but this potent merger of African heritage, Latin song forms and contemporary production will surely help change that. Here, a funk bottom and rock guitar mingle easily with soukous and Spanish flavours, enhanced by ever-present, and often thundering, hand percussion. The women behind the voices and songs are the stars here but behind the scenes it’s Duran who’s worked some conjuring charms to give what started as field recordings meant to preserve Garifuna’s female song heritage the means to appeal to a widespread audience. Whether it’s the bluesy "Uruwei,” which is accompanied by a creaking hammock, the celebratory chorus of vocals on "Barübana Yagien” or "Mérua,” a sultry call and response made for the dance floor, with its Havana horns and overdriven guitar, Umalali will bring considerable attention to Garifuna music. (Cumbancha)