Andre Toussaint

Bahamian Ballads

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Bahamian Ballads Review

by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

If you expect the typically bouncy, breezy tunes of the Caribbean from this comprehensive CD, you're in for a major surprise. Bahamian Ballads is not quite an accurate title for this collection of songs by noted Caribbean folk musician Andre Toussaint. Although Toussaint spent his career singing in Nassau's nightclubs and bistros, he was a native Haitian who performed in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Haitian Creole. This album explores the breadth of his talent, from his coconut milk-smooth vocals to his virtuoso guitar playing to his eloquent song interpretations. Bahamian Ballads is a treasure trove of tunes from the 1950s calypso era of Toussaint's heyday. His range is expansive, as is evidenced in the sweet, lilting melodies of the opening ballad, "Island Woman," the playfulness of the Bahamian folk classic "Watermelon Spoilin'," and the haunting, emotional treatment of "Mi Yiddishe Mama." This CD is a must-have for folk and Caribbean music fans.

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