When The People Move The Music Moves Too


Six Degrees Records, 2017


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Meklit is an Ethiopian-born artist who spent her formative years in the States. Following graduation from Yale, Meklit settled in San Francisco where she immersed herself in the thriving arts scene. Her fifth album, When The People Move The Music Moves Too, took no time shooting up to the number four spot on the iTunes World Music Chart, and this disc finds her taking help from the legendary Dan Wilson (Semisonic) on production and Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Andrew Bird elsewhere.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The leadoff track, “This Was Made Here,” immediately reveals Meklit’s strengths with its strong, fluid vocals, gently plucked guitar and vibrant horns, with the flute acrobatics certainly adding greatly to the experience as well. “I Want To Sing For Them All” shifts to a playful, almost cinematic quality with strings and brings Andrew Bird on board, and “Supernova” showcases Meklit's soothing, smooth voice with a pop song chocked full of World music flavor.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band brings their horns to four different tunes here, all of which are among of the most noteworthy. “You Are My Luck” is upbeat, piano-driven fun, while “You Got Me” is a more mysterious in nature and features an alluring, jazzy atmosphere. Near the end, they contribute to the smoky, subdued “Birthday Song,” which could easily find a consistent spot on the FM dial. Meanwhile, the album closer “Memories Of The Future” sums up the album well: it’s creative, soaring, and has multiple layers of memorable instrumentation.

The absolute album highlight, however (with Andrew Bird in the mix) is “Yerakeh Yeresal,” where light and cheery flutes add greatly to the beauty, which, despite its not being sung in English, should appeal to any person on the globe.

It's pretty unlikely that anyone is making music like this today. Meklit's Ethio-jazz is a sound all its own, often using a krar (a harp like instrument from Ethiopia) as well as thriving elements from both Brooklyn and San Francisco. With enough modern pop influences as well as rich cultural aspects from the around the world, the international appeal of this album is simply fascinating.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2017 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Six Degrees Records, and is used for informational purposes only.