Bebop Spoken Here reviews Radha Botofasina, Carry On – The Spirituals Vol 2

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Radha Botofasina - Promo1


by Ann Alex

Album Review: Radha Botofasina – Carry On – The Spirituals Vol 2

Main musicians on various tracks: Radha Botofasina (lead vocals, harp); John Lehman (piano); Gemi Taylor (guitar); Cecil McBee Jr (electric bass); Munyungo Jackson (percussion); Surya Botofasina (synth organ); John Barnes (synth/rhythms); (Aankha Neal, Isabel Beyoso, Arianna Gouvela, Shyam, Tony Reyes; Kristen Barnes, McCrary Sisters (backing vocals, handclaps, footsteps). Also brass and strings on some tracks

This album is gospel and soul music rather than jazz, although I did detect lots of improvisation, notably in the lively choruses with backing singers which round off some tracks. Ms Botofasina is a rousing lead singer rather than a soloist and the whole album shines with commitment and enthusiasm. I was unsure if I liked what I’d heard after listening to the first track but after that I wanted to join in with the singers!

I Know the Lord Laid His Hands on Me brims over with joyful singing, rhythm and clapping. My Soul Gonna Shine has a distinct New Orleans feel with no less than two each of baritone saxes and tubas, plus a trombone for good measure. Going Back With Jesus by contrast is slow and heartfelt with some string accompaniment.

The final track is an original by Ms Botofasina which opens with a moving chorus of Ethiopian women singing as they sort Arabica coffee beans. Fascinating stuff! The track continues with clapping, voices and clever guitar work.

Ms Botofasina is an Afro-Cuban American who was brought up in various foster homes. She has studied voice and jazz piano and is a multi-instrumentalist on piano, organ, synthesizer and harp. She is also a composer and record producer who has recorded with the late Alice Coltrane, the Buena Vista Social Club and many others. Our singer has produced over 17 albums of various genres such as children’s music, spirituals and spoken word. She has played at many gigs in Southern California and around the world.

The album is available from all fine retailers and if you visit you will find information about the harps that Ms Botofasina plays, should you wish to take up jazz harp.

Satan we Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down; I Know the Lord Laid His Hands On Me; Woman at the Well; My Soul Gonna Shine; Going Back With Jesus; Mary Don’t You Weep; Mind on Jesus/God Is God; Move on up a Little Higher; Carry On – Ann Alex

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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