Douye - So Much Love

Douye
Douye So Much Love.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

The Nigerian born vocalist Douye proves equally adept at capturing the sound of her native land and the sensual sound of adult oriented[c1]  soul on her second album So Much Love. The sound of Africa is probably never far from Douye’s heart, even while listening to her parents’ record collection that American soul and jazz artists such as Ray Charles or Rachelle Farrell, fellow Nigerian Sade and Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti.

The Nigerian born vocalist Douye proves equally adept at capturing the sound of her native land and the sensual sound of adult oriented[c1]  soul on her second album So Much Love. The sound of Africa is probably never far from Douye’s heart, even while listening to her parents’ record collection that American soul and jazz artists such as Ray Charles or Rachelle Farrell, fellow Nigerian Sade and Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti.

Douye honors the music of Kuti, one of Nigeria’s most renowned artists, on the track “So Much Love.” The track captures the collision of elements that make Afrobeat familiar to music fans on this side of the Atlantic while remaining a distinctly African art form. There is the percussion and the chanting of “so much love,” where Douye seems to be calling up the ancestors. Both have roots in West African music and in American gospel, blues and R&B. The title track is Douye’s labor of love to an artist to whom she grew up listening and who became an influence not only to her but to artists such as Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney.

Douye displays her ample chops as a renderer of the jazz influenced R&B love song throughout So Much Love. The album starts strongly with the smoldering “Til Morning Comes,” a track that finds Douye setting a scene for romance and passion that will not let up until sunrise. With her smoky vocals clinging to every word, listeners might find themselves hitting the snooze button and asking for five more minutes.

Douye co-wrote the songs on So Much Love with Terry Shaddick, who may best known for writing Olivia Newton-John’s 1982 hit “Physical.” The two show throughout So Much Love that they have mastered the ability of telling a sensual story sans the explicit lyrics that often characterize contemporary music. “Love Rules,” a track that tells the story of two people whose mutual attraction force them into a losing battle to remain faithful to their partners shows how voice, lyric and arrangement combine to make tasteful sexy. “It ain’t easy/ because we both belong to someone else/love is crazy/cuz you wanna do right/but you’re too weak to fight.” The song’s hook brings it all home. “So when you find that special someone/you feel it inside/it’s like electric/a chemistry/you know you just can’t hide/love rules/even you know that it’s taboo/Open your heart when you know the eyes of love shine on you.”

“Man Enough” is a joyful throwback to those 1970s era tunes that were equal parts soul, jazz and Las Vegas glitz. The track finds Douye unashamed to ask for a man who is strong. That kind of thing might not always be in favor these days of gender equality; however, the qualities that Douye identifies, selflessness, confidence and dependability, are universal qualities that the best men should possess.

Douye moves to romantic love on the tracks “Golden Days” and “Life is Good,” one of two tracks featuring contemporary jazz saxophonist Eric Marienthal. The former is a sentimental look back at the happy times of her youth that manages to be heartfelt without venturing into schmaltz. The latter is a mid-tempo tune that joyously celebrates the simple pleasures of life that people often overlook.

The title of Douye’s latest honors her love for the music of Fela Kuti, but the phrase “so much love” also highlights Douye’s comfort with expounding on the many facets of that emotion. The project possesses eloquence, whether she is addressing romance and sensuality, the warm memories from her childhood or the love of simplicity. So Much Love is another steady step forward in the burgeoning career of this talented singer/songwriter. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
Album of the Month - Jarrod Lawson - "Be The Change"
Video of the Month - Kea Michaels - "Not My Friend"
Choice Cut - Chris Jasper - "Have I Told You Lately"
Song of the Month - Tracy Cruz - "Your Love's Everything"

Leave a comment!