Deixar Rolar is available at:
RELEASED: June, 2015
GENRES: Soul; Bossa-Nova
France; Dominican Republic
The album Mulata Universal is available at:
Mulata Universal- 9.2
Não Posso Parar- 9.3
Deixa Rolar- 9.4
Você Me Dá- 9.3
Les voix du monde- 9.2
Minha Perdição- 9.3
Esse Amor 9.3
La, La, La- 9.4
Além do Atlântico- 9.2
No Puedo Parar, Pt. 2 (The Macrofunk's Caribbean Remix) [feat. Adolfo Guerrero- 9.3
Deixa Rolar; Você Me Dá; Somhow; La, La, La
THIS will be my final-ish review…
for a couple of weeks (longer, actually). Starting a new job on Monday, my time is going to be limited- it is good to ‘end’ with a fantastic artist. From the Soul-based sounds of Leon Bridges (yesterday’s review), I am with a multinational artist: with a French father; a Cameroonian mother; the young artist spent a lot of time in Africa; eventually locating to France. With the music industry filled with rather limited and lesser-traveled artists- in terms of their heritage and upbringing- Albrecht has certainly seen the world. Before I investigate her more- and the music she performs- it brings me to the subject of internationality and nationality. Across my reviews and all the ones I have done- spanning back quite a few years now- I have ‘visited’ four continents: Europe and North America; Australia and Asia- now I take in another. Having spent her childhood in Africa- although she is based between Dominican Republic (North America) and Paris- it is good to hear some African vibes; tied-in with European and Latin vibes. I may be cheating- counting it as African music- yet music lacks that international flavor; few bands have that travelogue and sense of adventure- it can be somewhat boring and predictable. In this country, bands and artist tend to be based in Great Britain- we have a few who come from overseas- and their music is ‘traditional’ in that sense. The sounds are radio-friendly and mainstream; the new musicians have a particular way of working- not really breaking from the pack. Featuring an artist who fuses Bossa-Nova, World and Latin sounds- with Soul and Pop popularity- how many other acts go as far? Genres like World and Bossa-Nova are often overlooked and passed-by: many see them as off-putting or hard to love; reserved for those with a particular passion. There are genres and sectors of music I ignore- because I have given it a chance and will never like it- but few really explore international music that much. The mainstream is packed with English-language sounds and critic-friendly bands; the scene is a little homogenised- more diverse and different sounds are relegated to the shadows. It seems a shame that there is this neglect and impasse: if people opened their mind more, they could discover something fantastic and vibrant- music that differs from what is out there. Before I raise a new point, let me introduce Clarisse Albrecht:
“Born to a French father and a Cameroonian mother, Clarisse split her childhood between Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and France. As a child, Clarisse was a shy and dreamy little girl, always reading, writing stories, singing and dancing. Her dream was to one day sing beautiful songs with the elegance of Sade. Years in Maputo have certainly been the most striking moments of her childhood. She lived in a cosmopolitan ambient, listening to rhythms from all over the world. This is where she learned Portuguese, watching Brazilian novelas on TV, and dreaming about Rio De Janeiro... In the early 90s, her family went back to France. The change were not that easy and Clarisse became very nostalgic of her African childhood. However, France is also a part of her and offers another incredible blend of cultures and traditions. Once again, dived in a multiple ethnicities ambient, she discovered Hip Hop, Electronic Music among others. Her passion for writing and singing becoming even more vivid, she joined a Gospel choir and made her first performances on stage as a lead singer and backup vocalist. She began to really wonder which musical way she should follow to fulfill her artistic aspirations. While studying Cinema at La Sorbonne, she sang as a backup vocalist in a band performing Soul & Funk covers. The will to express herself other than being a performer were too strong for her, she will quickly leave the band. She needed to find her way. With her eclectic musical tastes, it wasn't an easy task. But she decided to take it easy. Time will tell... From her childhood, she kept love for travels and an obvious attachment for the Portuguese language. This tongue which transcribes so well her deep nostalgia. So she decided to work on Brazilian standards. MPB, Bossa, Samba. She dived herself deep into this culture, into this music full of "saudade", so connected with her childhood memories of Maputo. That was the perfect timing to achieve another big dream : fly to Rio de Janeiro! During her journey, she soaked up the atmosphere, the sounds, the spirit of Rio... The marvelous city brought much more than expected. One night, chilling at Posto 6 of Copacabana's beach, a friend wrote a poem for her; saying that when she smiles with all her heart and soul, she becomes a "mulata universal". For Clarisse it’s an eye-opener. Here was what she needed to express. The essence of what her music should be. The soul of a woman with an universal heart... Back to Paris, she focused on creating her own music. Writing, songwriting, with the help of fellow producer and composer, LS. With lyrics full of "saudade" and love, transcribing her bohemian spirit in a subtle fusion between Soul & Bossa-Nova, Clarisse with her sultry and mesmerizing voice, invites us in her cosmopolitan and warm shelter...
We are ONE, we are LOVE. Welcome to Mulata Universal's world.”
Albrecht’s music is mainly sung in Portuguese; there are English offerings, but for the most part, it is Portuguese-based. Being based out of Dominican Republic (where Spanish is the primary language), Albrecht already has an international following. Few artists break through language barriers; connect with other cultures- and take the listener somewhere new and fresh. As Albrecht states, her music takes across the lands: from the Bossa-Nova of Latin and South America; the Soul elements of France and the U.S.; the Dominican Republic scenes and sounds. It is unusual for me to step away from the U.K. and U.S.-based musicians; explore something new to me- music that requires translation. Not only does it give me a chance to hear music sung in a different language- although Albrecht sent me the English lyrics to her single- it is that composition that spikes my interests. With her sultry and expressive voice, the sunny and uplifting coda gives the music radiance and carnival; summer-time vibes and joy. When reviewing Ellene Masri- a Paris-based artist who has ancestry in Africa and Europe (she is based in the U.S.)- I was struck by that same motivation- her music goes beyond usual expectations; laces in Jazz and Soul sensations; something international and cultured. Having such an itinerant and varied upbringing- and being inspired by a range of musicians and styles- her own music is packed with introspection and love notes; upbeat and redemptive appeals; it takes your mind around the globe- and seduces you with its beauty and passion. Albrecht portrays sounds of the summer on her latest single; overt optimism and positivity- a rarity in the modern music landscape. Like Masri, she has a love of Soul and Jazz; Latin/World elements- all mixed into a wonderful pot. Having fallen for Masri’s music and personality- the way she speaks and her dedication really gets to me- Albrecht looks set to elicit the same effect.
When comparing Albrecht with any other singer; it is a hard task. The tracks in the ether are contained within Deixar Rolar: Albrecht’s debut album; the result of her songwriting sessions in Paris. As I was saying when reviewing Leon Bridges- the Texan Soul singer has released his debut album, Coming Home- the music is fully-formed and instant. There are not a lot of cover versions and E.P.s- the same applies to both acts- and no collaborations. What we hear on her debut is the result of her music upbringing: the discoveries and sounds; the different nationalities and emotions- a rich and compelling creation. With such a well-traveled and busy childhood- which has taken her across Africa, the U.S. and Europe- all of this is channeled into the album. The French elements rub shoulders with African beats and Latin rhythms- wrapped helixly around her sensuous and embracing voice. The cover to Deixar Rolar sees the heroine relaxed and in thought; bursting with colour and fascinating scenery, it is intimate and inviting; fascinating and positive- everything her music promotes. Not being able to venture back- and see how far her music has come- we must look to the future; and see how it may develop. I predict a future that carries along the same lines: the same uplifting and poetic ideals; the vibrant and multi-part compositions- keep that lineage and D.N.A. the same. What we may see more of- if Albrecht records an E.P. or album- is more U.S. influenced. Having written her current album in France, she based out of the Dominican Republic- maybe the culture and local sounds will influence her direction? With music so diverse and all-inclusive, it will be exciting to see- maybe there will be more Soul and Jazz influences; something a little harder perhaps? What will not change is that core of optimism and love: she will not change her ethics and ideology- betray her roots and produce something off-putting and offensive.
If you are unfamiliar with Bossa-Nova- the main genre that is portrayed by Albrecht- there are some acts you could investigate. Bebel Gilberto is a Brazilian-born Bossa-Nova singer; her album All in One is particularly noteworthy. With Mark Ronson making an appearance- on the single The Real Thing; originally written by Stevie Wonder but reinvigorated here- the album mixes contemporary production with Brazilian heritage and Bossa-Nova sway. What is highlighted- and what reminds me of Albrecht- is the confidence expounded. When singing in Portuguese (Gilberto) sounds completely impassioned and controlled- the singer dominates proceedings. Drawing in a lot of percussion elements and a cast of musicians; the album is very much her creation- that singular voice radiates through. Albrecht shares Gilberto’s warmth and strengths; the blend of older and new- that extraordinary confidence and command. Although Luciana Souza- a Brazilian Jazz singer who mixes Bossa-Nova with classical elements- is more introverted and relationship-focused; the voice have a similar cadence and timbre; the songs have plenty of passion and insistency- that modernise the Bossa-Nova sound and bring it to new audiences. I would also recommend Sitti- a Filipino-born singer- and Céu- a Brazilian artist. The latter is a particular relevant act: her albums mix down-beat Reggae grooves with native elements; she multi-tracks her vocals into songs (conversing with herself on some instances) and rainforest-sampling soundscapes create heady and dizzying songs- that speak to listeners from all nations. Whether you are a Portuguese speaker or not, the music is startling and brave; anthemic and adventurous. Albums such as Vagarosa- which was met with critical acclaim- marry other styles alongside Bossa-Nova; the tracks have brave arrangements; they tie Electro. with Samba; unite all elements of Brazilian music- into a daring and startling album. That (the album) puts me in mind of Albrecht: she transcends language barriers and unites threads of Bossa-Nova- the arrangements are funky and fun; the vocals are sometimes breezy and laid-back- at other times utterly gripping and urgent. If you are new to the genre- and this type of music in general- have a listen to all these artists- a great starting-place; acts that have similar sounds and like-minded music.
Deixa roughly translates (from Portuguese) “to leave”; Rolar is “to roll”- the song’s title projects images of transition and movement; maybe getting away from a bad situation. The early words are beckoned in but a wave of calming vocals: our heroine multi-tracks her voice to create a conversational and entrancing sway- weaving the vocals inside one another. The initial words state “let it go” and “let it burn”: the words are delivered with such peacefulness and tranquility you wonder to what they refer- nothing bad or negative seems afoot. Perhaps my initial impression, yet there is a sense of serenity and openness- the words imploring you to let the bad go; let it burn. Electric strings are light but evocative; the percussion and flow is ripe and uplifting; the song kicks off with a paradise smile- and gets the listener hooked and entranced. The composition kicks up a beat- a Jazz-Rock little lick signals a change of pace- as the track starts to become more direct and urgent. In the arena of passion, our heroine is among “the fire of this brand-new passion”- she wants to see the fire burn; reluctant to see it fade away. Whether a personal sweetheart/love- or maybe a general passion- you are sucked-in by the vocal prowess- everything is delivered with insistency and conviction; an utter dedication to her heart. Starting from scratch- and not willing to discuss “pains from the past”- it is a fresh endeavour; a more pure love- where there need not be any recriminations and jealousy. Speaking to her lover, the words are presented with tenderness and precision- so that their meanings are not misconstrued or tempered-down. Not wanting to cry over lost love, the slate is clean; the passion is burning- nothing need get in the way. Those early words sizzle with promise and desire; the heat of the moment is unveiled- reflected through a tremulous vocal and teasing composition. Those Bossa-Nova sounds seep and flow; smooth-edged and dancing; the listener gets caught inside its warming embrace. Our heroine lays down her intentions and commitment: wanting to love (her man) like “a child”; during the sun and rain- love him with new eyes and a fresh perspective. You are drawn inside the dreamy and emotive coda- sung in Portuguese initially- that then transforms into English verse. Our heroine wants it known- and ensures her most direct words are English- that she has a crush (on him); a need and a hunger- that universality and passion comes together in the song’s most scintillating moment. Asking questions- “How can I tell you/what I feel for you?”- there is a sense of shyness and secrecy. Perhaps our heroine has been bruised before- and fallen for wrong men and bad sorts- so her feelings are being kept in. Maybe it is too early; the passion is intense and burning- and she is caught up in the emotion- but she is keeping her true expressions to herself. After the honest and vulnerability comes something more sexual and hot-bloodied. Speaking to her man, our heroine wants to taste him: yearning for his kiss, there is a very strong desire- her heart is “like a little bird”. Wanting to fly (her heart), there should be no everlasting love promises; no false ideals- just the passion and love. Things will come in time- the strong bond and plans for future- but by racing ahead, you set yourself up for failure. Our heroine wants to love “with the moonlight”; swim in the warmth of the water; embrace the sun and stars- surrender to the romance and tenderness. By committing early- or trying to be too eager- there is that implore to just let go; do not overthink things. Juxtaposing and transposing most songs- that tow similar lines and ideas- that wait-for-commitment-but-focus-on-the-here-and-now is a refreshing change- most singers yearn for instant commitment; balk at the ideals of instant physicality and delirious passion. Towards the two-thirds mark, my thoughts expand and speculate- is it just a new relationship being documented? Our heroine wants to love her man with the sea and sand; among the water- more natural images and metaphysical scenes come in. Gripped by the thought of a “one-night Samba”, the chorus comes back in- maybe other subjects are being examined. In writing this song, Albrecht explained it as a summer-time paen; a fun song to beat the blues- and inject sunshine into the mix. Maybe the scenery, landscape and weather are being praised- and fitting into the romantic wordplay- and makes me think twice. Clearly there is another person involved; yet the way her words tumble- and how they speak and reflect- leads my mind elsewhere. Keeping the mystery and sense of wonder high, the song is open for interpretation- each listener might have a different take. Maybe in love with the city; wanting to dance and enjoy the beach-life existence- rather than be in the arms of her dream man- your thoughts are split and conspiring. A wonderfully evocative song- with some intelligent and mature lyrics- it digs deeper and shouts louder. Towards the final moments, is a mix of wordless vocals and sultry Samba/Boss-Nova jive. Tempting in some gentle electronic strings; the lyrics come back in- advising caution to the wind; everything is going to be “just love”. That sentiment (throwing caution to the wind) is whispered with a seductive lick; you get a shiver and sense of sexuality- the heat of the moment is turned up and enflamed. As the final notes shimmy and dance, you are still caught up in the energy and passion. Employing traditional Bossa-Nova elements with modern production and touches- little bits Soul and Pop; undertones of Jazz too- it is a wonderfully vibrant and nuanced song.
Clarisse Albrecht makes distingué music- that which is defined by dignity and is distinguished- and is a warm and loving person. There are no swears and profanity; no accusations and hatred- just music that wants to embrace and comfort. Some cynical souls may feel it will never capture the mass audience- given what the majority of music consists- yet that is the point. There is too much cynicism and anger in music; too much back-stabbing and self-flagellation: when you push away from that; can be bold and upbeat- that takes the most strength and courage. With her poetic lyrics and elegant production values, the songs swim and glide- get inside your mind and take hold. Deixar Rolar showcases those mandates of uplift and sunshine- the song is a summery number that soundtracks warm and pleasant days. With autumn now upon us- and the weather somewhat unpredictable here- we all need something positive; music that goes beyond the borders of rage and pain- puts the listener in a better frame of mind. Bossa-Nova and Soul produces artists who can do this- the more mainstream genres are culpable of this missive- and Albrecht has no intention of bringing down the mood. Returning to my original points- before I give a mini-review of her debut album- I am back on the subjects of international music and positivity. In the U.K., we are prone to a lot of new acts and genres; some great new stuff coming through- so much gets passed-by and buried. The media is prone to promoting Indie/Alternative; Pop and Rock- obvious and profitable styles of music. I can see why everything can’t be proffered- due to lack of space and column inches- yet there is an opportunity gone begging. Bossa-Nova and Soul blends; music that gets you dancing and smiling- when do we hear this nowadays? Music is defined by its inner-examinations and lovelorn numbers; the optimism and soul is starting to fade. There are acts that break from the mould of cynical and heartbroken, yet they are few-and-far-between. With the likes of Albrecht starting to popularise a new wave of positivity, more should take note- and listen to its effects. Whether sung in Portuguese or French; English or Spanish- you cannot deny the music’s potential. It may take a while to fully feel the full effects of the music- with the majority of her tracks being sung in Portuguese- but that should not distort your thoughts. The compositions bristle with life and energy; the songs are catchy and vibrant- the messages contained have a universality and tangibility. People are willing to travel the planet and seek-out new countries: expound the virtues of their cultures and sights; the magic they witness. When it comes to music, people are less adventurous. Maybe something needs to be done: as I said previously, we are missing out on a lot. As a supplement to our musical diet, Albrecht’s brand of warm-cum-personal motifs can inspire and motivate- break through prejudices and hesitancy. Too many ‘music-lovers’ are stuffy and narrow- I do not like some genres, yet have an open-minded outlook- and do not look beyond the safe and comforting. With Albrecht- and fellow international acts like Masri- bringing their special music to the masses; things are starting to change. If anything, it is exciting to behold a truly traveled and cosmopolitan act. Albrecht has her African heritage and genres- which you can hear in some of the Coupé-Décalé/Afrobeat polyrhythms- and Dominican skin- the Bossa-Nova and Latin passion bursts from the speaker. Having spent a lot of time in Paris, the French influences come out: European Pop elements and Biguine/Yé-yé; café culture and languid beauty. Alongside this are the British/U.S. themes: the romantic and old-style Soul; the urgent and updated Pop sounds- wrapped around a voice that is rich with love and tenderness; layers and threads. Albrecht is one of the most expressive and vibrant voices on the modern scene- few singers have her grasp of emotions and subject matter. It would be great to see Albrecht in London: bring her music to the U.K. masses; give us a first-hand chance to witness her unique blends. The music world needs more pioneering and forward-thinking acts; people who want to bring gentility and positivity in- it is seriously waning at the moment. With a prosperous future ahead of her, it seems like everything is falling into place. Albrecht’s blog allows access into her travels, family and world- a chance for the fan to see another side to the singer- whilst the music itself is bursting with colour and light; flair and life.
Não Posso Parar has plenty of punch and panache. One of the album’s most seductive numbers, it boasts a gorgeous vocal- our heroine has never sounded as romantic and impassioned. The multi-tracked vocals create shivers and atmosphere; they beautifully unite and augment- the composition is powerless to resist. Awe-struck and supportive, the beats and strings back the waterfall-like vocals; the heart-warming and sun-seeking grace.
Você Me Dá is one of the fastest and most furious tracks on the album. Rushing and racing, the vocal is gorgeous and powerful. Electronics are hazy and vibrating, the Bossa-Nova elements are all here- the entire composition is more fiery and alive; the song is one of the album’s most innovative cuts. Uniting traditional Portuguese/Brazilian sounds with contemporary vibes, and it is one of the album’s finest moments.
Maputo boasts a gorgeous and dreamy introduction; it leads to a rich and sensual vocal- the song has a sassiness and shimmer. The composition is teasing and romantic; the vocal is warm and embracing; the song has an elegance and sense of refine- a great balance against the more enraptured and faster numbers.
Somehow is one of the gentlest numbers from Mulata Universal. Desires and dreams are starting to fade; our heroine wants to keep strong and resolved- a part of her is starting to question and doubt. The love is strong and meaningful, yet there is struggle and hardships- the course of love never runs too smoothly. Remaining strong and dignified, our heroine remains stoic and humble; ensuring she does not accuse or blame. Showcasing Albrecht’s most crystalline and pure vocals- letting the full beauty of her voice explore and linger- the song has a timeliness and sense of class; it is a song that deserves some extended radio play.
Perhaps the album’s fullest and most vivacious songs, La, La, La has an insatiable rhythm and passion. The wordless chorus is just the start of things. Our heroine’s voice is at its expressive best: weaving and contorting, her delivery is impeccable and innovative. Twisting phrases and words, she combines with a finger-clicked underpin; the effusive and festival-ready swagger takes you by the hand. Mixing Bossa-Nova with Latin fever; Pop and Soul elements with gorgeous vocal commitment, and it is an addictive and incredible number. Imploring the listener to dance and clap- you can imagine the song blaring from a sunshine resort; a bar in the middle of a gorgeous island, as everyone unites in dance.
The album has a mix of cultures and musical ideas- Mulata roughly translates to mean “mixed-race”- and there is plenty of diversity to be found. Albrecht has African and French heritage; based in Dominican Republic, the young artist has a maternal attitude to the planet. In touch with love, nature and the more positive aspects of the world, this reflects in her work. The music is unashamedly positive and non-offensive; the tracks look at love’s strength and potential- what happens when you embrace its magic. The natural world comes into proceedings; natural images and stunning scenes- help to add to the beauty and tranquility. The songs are not all calm and reflective: there is plenty of deliriousness and rhythm; some tremendously powerful moments- where the composition comes right to the fore. Across the entire album, Albrecht demonstrates her full and mesmerising voice: it can go from a chilled whisper to something bustling and bursting; emotive and seduced. Not just dedicated to Portuguese/lovers of Bossa-Nova, the album translates to all cultures: the power of the music overrides any preconceptions and limitations. The vocals and compositions beautifully sit with one another; the band are consistently tight and exhilarating- the songs speak to those lovelorn and hopeful; those in the throes of passion too. What you get is one of this year’s most exciting and nuanced albums- where songs reveal new insight and aspects with each listen- and it is such a packed album. The songs burst and flow with energy; the vocals are chocolate-smooth and haunting (at times) - a stunning achievement. With elegant and refined production values, Albrecht is one of the music world’s most sparkling stars. If she continues this pace- and keeps her quality and consistency as it is- then she will be a name to watch. If you have passed her by until now, ensure you do not let her slip by. Mulata Universal and Deixar Rolar show just how stunning Albrecht is. With 2015 not promising much flair, passion and continental diversity, thank God for the Dominican Republic-based artist. Her music is perfect for warmer days; it is not exclusive or narrow- it wants everyone to be involved. When it’s full spell takes a hold; trust me…
NOBODY is immune.
[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/208327656" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]
Follow Clarisse Albrecht:
Clarisse’s Blog is Available at: