Yewande - Rebirth (2012)

Yewande
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My youngest daughter was riding with me to a jazz festival as I listened to Rebirth, the new CD by Yewande Austin. She thought that Yewande sounded like Cher. I kind of thought the same thing  when I first played this ambitious and solid record. Yewande has a husky and smoky vocal and the same quiver when she holds a note – especially when on pop oriented ballads such as “Amazing.” However, Yewande has a much wider vocal range. Yewande also has an aggressive edge in her voice that suits her very well on Rebirth’s rock and funk tracks – the genre that make up a good portion of this 10 track recording.

My youngest daughter was riding with me to a jazz festival as I listened to Rebirth, the new CD by Yewande Austin. She thought that Yewande sounded like Cher. I kind of thought the same thing  when I first played this ambitious and solid record. Yewande has a husky and smoky vocal and the same quiver when she holds a note – especially when on pop oriented ballads such as “Amazing.” However, Yewande has a much wider vocal range. Yewande also has an aggressive edge in her voice that suits her very well on Rebirth’s rock and funk tracks – the genre that make up a good portion of this 10 track recording.

One thing becomes clear after listening to Rebirth. Yewande can rock! That’s a quality that won’t get her airplay on the nation’s Hot R&B and hip-hop stations. For that matter, you probably won’t hear a Yewande tune on a rock station.  Still, I have to acknowledge that it’s been a long time since I heard anybody rock as hard as Yewande does on tracks such as “Woman,” “Skin” and “The One.” The former is a girl power anthem complete with screaming guitars and Yewande taking her vocals from a growl to a roar. “Skin” is another anthem that finds Yewande making an assertive demand for tolerance. “Love me/when I’m standing on top/hate me/When I don’t do right/leave me/If I’m not what you want/ But not for my skin.”

The Yoruba translation of Yewande’s name is “reincarnation of mother.” The singer’s music was conceived and birthed into a hostile world. Black radio will have little room for vocalists who sounds like a 20 year old Cher and rocks like Lenny Kravitz. Rock radio won’t know what to do with a black woman with an African name. That means that most people will have to find this music on their own. But for those who do, they'll receive a treat, because any artist with the level of commitment, vision and talent of Yewande deserves to be heard.

Notable tracks: Skin, Criminal, Superman, Dangerous

Vocals: 3.5
Lyrics: 3.5
Instrumentation: 4.0
Production: 4.0
SoulTracks call: Highly Recommended 

By Howard Dukes

 

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