Lorraine Klaasen Nouvelle Journée
Published Jun 03, 2016Long based in Montreal, singer Lorraine Klaasen continues to make music primarily influenced by her native land of South Africa (she was born in Soweto). She won a 2013 Juno Award for World Music album of the Year for her Tribute to Miriam Makeba, a prime influence (as is famed singer Thandie Klaasen, her mother).
Her latest, Nouvelle Journée, is a truly multilingual album, with songs sung in English, French and South African languages Tsonga, Sotho, IsiZulu and Xhosa. It initially sounds a touch odd to hear a South African-flavoured song done in French, as on the title track, and to these ears, it's the more overtly South African tunes that work best.
Klaasen has a fluent and melodic vocal style, and she's aided by an A-list cast of world music players and fine production by guitarist Mongezi Ntaka. There is a real social conscience evident in such material as "Izani Nonke" and the anti-greed ballad "Where To Now," a song Klaasen wrote 30 years ago that sadly remains relevant today. Strong messages are found within this sweetly rhythmic material, confirming the ongoing appeal of music with a townships vibe. (Justin Time)