Oliver N'Goma of Gabon has diverged somewhat from the proven Afro-zouk style of his previous two albums. Here, he works in new rhythms that range from his mellow brand of Congolese soukous to salsa, indigenous dance rhythms of Gabon, and some Afro-zouk similar to material contained on Bane and Adia. His voice is as strong and velvety as ever. However, this album does not quite match the groove quotient of the previous two. However, Seva does have its brilliant moments of tropical essence, especially the first two tracks. The lilting soukous-tinged title track is hypnotic, and N'Goma shows that he can work a groove in a subtly sensual way that is deceptively simple. This album requires a little more effort from the listener and dancer. He has not capitulated totally to the soukous siren, but the influence is much stronger on this album than on his previous releases. On Seva, he also utilizes an able contingent of musicians and backup singers, in contrast to Bane and Adia. For fans of Oliver N'Goma, Seva is a slight turn in the path, but a nevertheless enjoyable and thoroughly danceable album. It will not disappoint. For those new to his music, Bane and Adia are the ones to get first.
by Mark Romano