For her sixth CD as a leader, singer Denise Jannah, a native of Surinam who has long resided in the Netherlands, selected 22 of her favorite poems by various poets from a number of different countries and composed music for each of them. The instrumental backgrounds are minimal, typically guitar or piano (occasionally with electric bass and percussion), so the listener will focus on the lyrics. Without translations, one has to rely exclusively on Jannah's expressive vocals to convey the mood of each piece, which she does beautifully. "Diep van mijzelf" tells of a musician deeply estranged from herself, while "Syen" is a mournful ballad attempting to apologize for words that never should have been said to a lover. "MAL VEGA" is played as an upbeat samba, though the poem is about grandchildren who celebrate how their forefathers sowed the seeds for their happiness, while the grandfather grumbles about the indignities they suffered in what the younger generation referred to innocently as the "good old days." The scenario of the child becoming a parental figure to her aging mother who lies in bed and asks "Is it today or yesterday?" is the subject of the bittersweet "Is het vandaag of gistren." Fittingly, "SUB FINEM" (translated as At the End) is about accepting death as a natural part of life. This brilliant CD, a moving labor of love, is available through the artist's website at www.denisejannah.com.
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