Sylviane Cedia

Cre Mo

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Sylviane Cedia is an exceptional vocalist from French Guiana, the oldest of the overseas possessions of France and the only French territory on the American mainland. Her album Cre Mo is a rich melange of zouk, carnival rhythms, and sensual swing that stands out and stands up after repeated listening. The music of French Guiana shares many of the musical styles of Guadeloupe and Martinique. "La Swing" is the thing in this part of the world. Maybe it's the extreme humidity in this part of South America that makes for the languid sensual songs like "Mr. John's DDSS" that are laced with subtle yet incendiary percussion. One dances very close to songs like this. The Creoles say "lakol" meaning like glue or "cole sere." A crop of excellent musicians that includes DeDe St. Prix and Mario Canonge enhances the swing and drive on this album. "Pas pedi espwa" begins with a mellow groove that kicks in to that irresistible Creole swing and then into a short soukous riff. Cedia's voice is sensual yet ethereal, strong yet tender. She is reminiscent of great American jazz icons like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McCrae, as well as the French chanson divas. "Recidive" is zouk love with some steam rising above the formula-ridden generic zouk love. "Bonjour Carnival" puts you right in the road march with the percussion driving you up and onward. "By Day" jumps and bumps along on a tropical wave that makes the feet happy. Another fine album by an artist and composer little known outside francophone circles (also check out her greatest hits on Hibiscus Records).

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