Jhelisa: A Primitive Guide to Being There (Border)

 |   |  1 min read

Jhelisa: Freedom's Land
Jhelisa: A Primitive Guide to Being There (Border)

The great thing about Music From Elsewhere for me is that I get surprised by what turns up: like this album from a woman who has pulled together threads of soul, gospel, jazz and r'n'b to create an album which is a tapestry of emotions, funkiness and finger-popping grooves.

To give an idea of the breadth of her abilities and musical interests here is a partial list of who she has sung with: Bjork, Massive Attack, Chaka Khan, Bryan Ferry, Paul Weller, Courtney Pine . . .

And she has toured with James Brown and the Roots.

Her cousin is Carleen Anderson and her aunt is Vicki Anderson. She was born in Jackson, Mississippi but grew up in Louisville, Kentucky then spent time in London where she was in the drum'n'bass scene, and then moved on to Germany. She was more than a decade out of the States and in the DVD film -- entitled One Week With Jhelisa: Rediscovering America -- which accompanies this very impressive album she says she came back "to witness the nervous breakdown of America".

As one who has seen her country from the outside she was appalled by its current politics and she brings her articulate intelligence to the album which is grounded in gospel freedom songs and deep soul, but also funks it up because she recorded it in New Orleans.

She also kicks in some breezy pop balladry, and includes Jamaican nyabingi drums patterns on one of her yearning songs based on an old song heard during Martin Luther King Jr freedom marches.

Jhelisa was not a name I knew. Now she's one I won't forget.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various Artists: . . . Featuring Norah Jones (Blue Note)

Various Artists: . . . Featuring Norah Jones (Blue Note)

Those who dismiss Norah Jones as some kind of aural wallpaper clearly aren't listening carefully enough. Her albums have been quietly progressive as they step deftly betwen lounge jazz and... > Read more

Various Artists: Greatest Hits from Outer Space (Ace/Border)

Various Artists: Greatest Hits from Outer Space (Ace/Border)

Aside from the broad theme there's little to determine what “outer space” music might be, given this opens with Richard Strauss' dramatic Also Sprach Zarathustra (the 2001 theme and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta

Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta

Cannot tell a lie, this one is lifted directly from the Salmonman flier that we picked up somewhere. Salmonman sells all kinds of salmon -- from smoked fillets to steaks and marinated kebabs --... > Read more

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER JULIAN REID on the streets of weirdly normal Athens

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER JULIAN REID on the streets of weirdly normal Athens

Julian Reid is a musician, graphic designer and photographer who has lived in London for over 10 years. This week he went to Athens on business. He reports that "it is a weird... > Read more