Marijose Alie

Zambouya

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AllMusic Review by

Zambouya is a sparkling jewel of an album, a breath of fresh air from the surfeit of zouk love albums that sound cloned. Marijose Alie is a fine vocalist from Martinique whose voice evokes the ambiance of the French Antilles with sensuality, humor, nostalgia, and rhythms that swirl around you. What makes the album so appealing is its spectrum of different rhythms that surprise and delight. "Ase Pale" goes from a typically smooth Martiniquan groove to a son montuno riff to driving Haitian konpa. "Les Grands Tambours" is a bluesy melodic song with swing that tells of her hearing the great drummers of her homeland as she walks along the river Seine in Paris. Throughout the album, the musical backing is strong and deft. The percussion parade of djembes, timbales, and congas crackle and percolate underpinning the exquisite melodies. Other outstanding tracks are "Laisse Aller Mama," a raggamuffin-reggae, and "Siparis," a jazzy cut with monster bass telling of the criminal in jail whose life was spared when a volcano obliterated the entire population of St. Pierre in Martinique in the early 1900s. The title cut is another gem that cooks with Antillean swing, beginning with a laugh at the courtly French and a harpsichord intro. The song, about the minute size of the lizard's member not being suitable for a marriage to Mambouya, breaks into fierce Haitian konpa after it's very proper start. An album well worth seeking out for its ingenious blend of rhythms, melodies, and percussive power.

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