Thursday, July 28, 2011

Spotlight: Sia Tolno - "Odju Watcha"

Sia Tolno's Odju Watcha from Lusafrica is a small release. Three originals and one radio edit of the title track makes it barely even an EP but a so-called "excerpt" from her forthcoming full-length My Life due in September. Despite clocking in just under 20 minutes, Odju Watcha is a powerful release showcasing Tolno's undeniable strength as a vocalist and makes a strong, albeit brief case that this Guinea singer is one to watch.

The real gem, though, is the lead single and title track. Backed by clean but lively production, “Odju Watcha” is a funky, mid-tempo number with cyclical, Mandingo guitar licks and soulful backup singers. However, Tolno is the one who really makes the track shine, passionately exhibiting her deep, full voice with intensity. Switching back and forth between a Creole that draws on Kissi and Mendi (native languages from the Kissi people of who Tolno hails from) as well as English, Odju Watcha's lyrics that are suggestively socio-political that a native speaker might be able to decipher better than a regular Toubabe. Nevertheless, Tolno's fervor throughout the track gets her point across that is reminiscent, as cliché as it may sound, like a female Fela.

Odju Watcha is excellent foretaste that makes us impatiently wait for the full-length, My Life, due out in September.

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