Kolinga / Legacy / Underdog Records – By Cal Gibson

Super review by Cal Gibson, of The Secret Soul Society and Scruffy Soul Recordings.

September. Summer has come and gone, again. Twelve weeks of condensed sweetness, long days in the park, insect bites and bike rides, fluffy clouds and thunderstorms. Reliving childhood through my daughter’s palpable delight in all things under the sun: life becoming dreamlike, drifting, hazy – carefree, almost.

How to soundtrack this turning of the seasons then, this shift in perspective, a gradual swoon back into the rhythms of regimentation. You could do much worse than turn towards Kolinga‘s beautifully poised collection of African-flavoured pop, a finely-judged pot-pourri of global influences and song-writing chops. Low-key, melancholic and soulful: Rebecca M’Boungou‘s yearning vocal delivery surrounded by simpatico percussion and syncopated low-end shuffle.

Mama (Don’t Let Me) hymns the power of the matriarch: the constant round which the family revolves, a swampy break halfway through highlighting the warmth of the message – skanked guitar licks driving a sinuous bassline – positivity flowing from the horns. A total banger.

I Can See You drops the temperature and slinks into Common Saints territory: syrupy lines draped over easy beats, orchestral builds, a touch of Charles Stepney perhaps in the classy arrangement, its clever, sophisticated songwriting. Light and shade are deftly applied. Easy on the ears but packing a quiet punch – lovely stuff.

Recent single, Mateya Disko, is another total delight: dancefloor heat as the African feels take centrestage – guitars chiming, beats bumping, Rebecca’s wonderful vocal, warm and overflowing with emotion. It’s nine minutes plus of magic. Horns joining the party three minutes in to complete the mystical vision. One of my favourite tracks of the year for sure.

Underdog is a great French label with a worldwide ethos that’s always worth checking out – Joao Selva and Dowdelin, among others, have both released tremendous music recently – and Legacy is an album that repays repeated listens. Full of joy, full of life, full of funk: Kolinga are an absolute delight.

Kolinga`s Legacy is out now, care of Underdog Records.

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