Regina Carter is a (jazz mostly) violinist (although I am unfamiliar with her). Her then new album, Reverse Thread, was a collection of African melodies played via Carter’s jazz sensibilities. She had been playing with a larger group on tour, but she decided to strip down the band to just herself on violin, Will Holshouser on accordion and Yacouba Sissoko on kora.
They only play two songs, although since the set is 12 minutes, they are long songs (about 6 minutes each). And they are beautiful and meandering with many solos.
I have to admit that for the first s9ng, “N’Teri” (written by Habib Koite) I feel like the kora comes across as the main instrument. I could listen to Sissoko play that all day. Although by the middle of the song Carter and Holshouser trade off solos, violin to accordion, which is pretty cool.
“Kanou” (written by Boubacar Traoré) is a bit more upbeat and almost dancey. In this song all three musicians get equal billing and its really cool the way each instrument seems to come to the fore a little. I also enjoyed that even though this is Regina Catrter’s show, she puts her violin down for a bit while Holshouser takes a long accordion solo. But mostly they all work together perfectly–a wonderful combination that I’ve never heard before.
[READ: April 14, 2015] “Musa”
This is a simple story of loss and how it can affect everyone around them.
Musa is the narrator’s older brother. He is a strong figure in the family and the narrator respects him like no one else. Their father had disappeared long ago and Musa was more or less the man of the family.
And then Musa was murdered. The narrator was upset of course, but he was also offended by this because he imagined his brother was invincible and even worse, the way he died was so insignificant.
But it hit his mother even harder. She acted as if she were widowed and she treated the narrator as an insignificant afterthought. Her whole life was soon dedicated to mourning Musa and to finding his killer.
The story seems to be addressed to “Mr. Investigator” but there is no real address beyond that, no indication that there is some investigation going on.
The narrator remembers his mother harassing people whom she thought might be involved, including several fully innocent people. His mother–although dedicated to the dead brother–also protected the narrator so hard that he became nearly useless—he grew up afraid of the water–so even walking on the edge of the ocean when the sand starts to give away makes him panic.
Even now as an adult, he still has fears that seem too much.
There’s not a lot to this story–aside from the overwhelming sense of loss. But maybe that’s enough.