Serge Kakudji / Fabrizio Cassol / Rodriguez Vangama

Coup Fatal

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And now for something completely different! Words don't do it justice, but...what is here are (mostly) familiar Baroque vocal pieces, sung by Congolese countertenor Serge Kakudji and accompanied by a battery of Congolese percussion and electric guitar. The African players are from Kinshasa, and the music is mostly in the soukous style, derived partly from Latin American rumba. There are a couple of original pieces, and in live performance the music would be accompanied by dancers. Just to top it all off, there are some syllable vocal harmonies that sound as though they could have come off 1960s lounge recordings. When it comes to cross-cultural fusions, this is hard to outdo. The idea was apparently the brainchild not of Kakudji but of Belgian composer and jazz saxophonist Fabrizio Cassol, who has traveled extensively in Africa. Sometimes the Baroque pieces lie right on the surface, and sometime they're buried more deeply; some may enjoy playing a few for friends and seeing whether they can identify the source material. What makes this all so extraordinary is that there is absolutely nothing of pat pastiche about it, or even of experiment. The music sounds as though it's the most natural thing in the world, as though people had been mixing these elements for decades, and it has the kind of swing that comes only from true enjoyment on the part of the players. A real triumph.

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