Emeline Michel

Rasin Kreyol

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Haiti's Emeline Michel proves to be not only a glorious singer, but also a very adept and savvy arranger and producer on this album. Blessed with a wonderful voice, she makes full use of it on atmospheric tracks like "Interlude (Soufle Van)" and "Mon Rêve," where she layers up the vocals, building them into a dreamlike soundscape. But she's equally at home on more formed songs, with "Bel Kongo" kicking things off in a funky Creole style. There's a certain jazziness to much of the material, which she handles smoothly. If there's one fault to the album, it's that some of the songs could have been stronger. Pieces like the lovely "Beni-Yo" and "La Karidad" are fine, but others remain surprisingly anonymous, resisting every effort to spark them into life. It's a shame, because she's a formidable talent, one who'll make a real impact in the years to come. Everything is still coming together. But when all the pieces are in place, people had better watch out.

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