July 2006

Carmen Souza
July 8, 2006QueensparkToronto

Carmen Souza at Afrofest
by David Fujino with photo by Roger Humbert

The scope of African music is growing because of artists like Carmen Souza.

She's searching for new sounds.

Born in Portugal to a Cape Verdean family, the singer/composer sang simply this afternoon about the struggles of people in society and her hopes for a better future.

The six tunes were played at a medium slow to medium tempo, but they were constantly invigorated and pushed along by Theo Pas'cal's upfront, funky electric bass.

Meanwhile, pianist Robi Botos was applauded for his consistently sparkling solos. Orlanda Guilande shone both as a capable backup vocalist and stirring hand drummer. And Travis Yearwood's steady jazz kit drumming completed the group's total sound.

The sound was that of jazz and fusion. Two-beat, punctuating bass lines ... an electronic wash and glitter of chords ... and Carmen's voice above a steady and detailed rhythm.

It was clear that her ambition is to move from a folkloric into a more instrumental-based sound, but Carmen's mild-mannered singing was frequently dominated by the sheer energy and inventiveness of her bandmates.

Carmen Souza

After she spoke about the love and peace that children bring to this world, Carmen and her musicians ended the set with a tender, slow pulsing tune.

Carmen Souza's music, really, is about hope and optimism.

This makes it a true gift.

Carmen Souza – voice and piano
Orlanda Guilande – backup vocals and percussion
Theo Pas'cal – electric bass
Robi Botos – piano and keys
Travis Yearwood – drums

> carmen souza

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David Fujino
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Roger Humbert
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