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  • Cy White

Kelela: Raven


madasa-media-kelela-raven

Instantly, listeners are enveloped in a melodic piece of loveliness. Opening track “Washed Away” delivers vocal and ethereal music that washes over the listener, bringing serenity to the spirit as soon as the first note slides softly into our space. The same sense of wonder and otherworldly magic permeates the entirety of Raven.

Kelela is another instance of a woman who’s sorely underappreciated in her time, if Raven is any indication of the kind of work she is capable of. Absolutely beautiful music. In the same vein of Victoria Monét and other softer-voiced singers of that ilk, Kelela has managed to successfully inject emotional substance and an understated power in her tone. Unlike the whisper-thin vocals of many of her peers, however, Kelela has a weight in her tone that anchors her sound, instead of allowing it to set adrift on the wind with barely an impact. It’s elevated by the steady rise and fall of the music, which was composed within an inch of its life: knowing at which points to crescendo to give the lyrics more veracity, but understanding the curves and angles of her pretty voice and allowing the music to embrace her voice as opposed to drown it out.

Mellow, groovy music that has shades of Jay Denes’ Naked Music and artists like Aya (“Let It Go,” “Closure”), slotting perfectly within the deep house nu-jazz of the early 2000s.




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