Saint Evo releases groundbreaking new album “Jeru”
There’s something about music, a person’s character, the creative mind behind it and the amount of talent the creator boasts of, personally you get the urge to know the kind of ‘edge’ these kind of people have, even as you attempt to understand their art, which as you know would not be easy to figure out conclusively but you keep at it anyway.
Saint Evo has struck my curiosity nerve, a Kenyan artist, DJ and producer whose work is grounded on carefully selected and distinct original African sounds that capture the lives and narratives of Kenyan communities’ traditional music and modern electronic house sounds. The creative, who hails from the culturally rich Kajiado plains and otherwise known as ‘The Myth’, creates a varied and rich sound that is sort of familiar to your ear with a deliberate alluring medley of distinct chants, uniquely packaged to tempt the unknown.
The DJ describes his mythical sound as Equatorial Sound, a kind of music that thrives on the harmonies of the roots of East African sounds and languages, his music, as much as it would appear familiar to the African subconscious, with a House appeal, is actually sort of hard to place a finger on. Saint Evo experiments with a lot of awareness and physicality amplified by archetypal drum selection, that would have you lose pieces of yourself under the charm of his positive vibe.
Saint Evo’s latest album release titled “Jeru” is his first full project; his arrival reads like a call from the mystic or outer space, the opening track “The Call Of Engai” loosely translated to mean ‘the call of God’, is kind of summoning us to explore his craft, starting off with the jungle feel and captured by the tweeting birds and insect chirps followed by an echoing jumbo trumpet layered on a redolent drum sequence.
The artits’ varied percussion loops are regularly distributed throughout the project; he re-configures numerous sounds that are evident of how much he owes his Electronic House sound with response to the past and present, he fuses expansive human sound effects and dramatic vocals into his music.
‘Jeru’ is all about exploration and the unlimited experiences of the disposed universe, it is delicate at the same time intrepid providing him with an unlimited space to take us through a tour of the spiritual, immersive and the hidden tortured-soul familiarity with a perspective of Electronic Sound, as prescribed on; “Kala Na Kala”, “Tinda Netsa” and “Where Is My Lover”- a tune which packs a lasting sort of eerie live guitar-then “Fire Flies” three tracks featuring Kenyan artists Nuru, Idd Aziza, Tetu Shani and South African voice from the treasure Ruby Gold respectively.
‘Jeru’ drifts to appeal to the callous in man, he lays his sound over Kwame’s lyrics as he passionately sings on “Kau” the longest track on the LP, done in one of Kenya’s Bantu dialects, the song speaks of the need to avoid violence and embrace love. Saint Evo ropes in South African Toshi whose inspiring vocals grace the baselines on “Ukhalelani” reminding us to rediscover our sense of humanity, in a monologue approach we listen to her speak of the purpose of life.
Saint Evo features Hybrid Actuary on “The Strum” as the name suggests, the track is anchored on sonic and evocative guitar sounds. It is definitely one of the edgy gems off “Jeru” tapping on the lively Afro-Punk with glaring evidence of his sense of restlessness when it comes to music. The tune stirs up the craze that builds up into the pop-leaning tune “Tonight” featuring UK based Kage Sparks and Jamaican act Jenham Smith. The song fuses reggae-dancehall elements with the unreserved Electronic House, the result is an incredible and explosive dance tune. “Ekibobo” which features Bantu Clan from Uganda on the other hand is a narration of children stories, a playful tune drawing its theme from one of the common children play songs rekindling memories from the past.
“Ikweta” sums up the whole project and focuses much on the unique Equatorial Sound and various house styles, the experimentation between Saint Evo and his fellow producer DJ Karama reverberates with the typical and exceptional skills of both the talented artists.
“Jeru” is a solid album, the work is unique, diverse, spiritual, expressive and a new phase for those who want to discover new and rare sounds; the project details Saint Evo’s dexterity and willingness to venture into the untapped of the wild side of music and bold enough to stick to his true own sound “Electronic Sound”.
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