Sui Vesan

Merging with the Brook

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The second album by Czech-born singer/songwriter Sui Vesan is perhaps best described as the point of triangulation between Yma Sumac's transcendently odd jazz exotica, the art pop of Björk or Kate Bush, and the crosscultural vocal experiments of Anglo-Indian singer Sheila Chandra. Vesan sings in her own made-up language, "Tatlanina," and at times her vocals recall Chandra's vocal percussion technique. The arrangements, built on acoustic guitar lines played by Vesan's mono-named husband Rado, incorporate kalimba (the African thumb piano), South American-style wooden flutes, Middle Eastern rhythms, and other world music signifiers. However, Vesan is such a singular talent as a singer and arranger that Merging with the Brook doesn't come off as a mishmash of stolen ideas the way so many similar "worldbeat" albums do: rather than merely draping exotic skins over a basic framework of Anglo-American pop, Vesan twists pop conventions to her own end on bizarrely catchy songs like "Running Through the Hollow Tree." Merging with the Brook is a vivid example of unique creativity and an endlessly fascinating listen.

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