47 UMA - 47 UMA (Music CD)

Release Date: 05 July 2010
Artist: 47 UMA
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It may seem odd that a band clearly influenced by a variety of worldbeat styles -- reggae, soca, mbaqanga -- would be based in Detroit, MI. But then, Paul Simon of Forest Hills, Queens, New York, NY, made a success by drawing on some of the same styles for his celebrated Graceland album, so there seems no reason why anyone anywhere in the global village can't draw upon rhythms not native to them. And it's hard to argue when 47UMa (named after a newly discovered star) begins producing its dance music and Gail Baker begins to sing of love, rhythm, and world peace in her warm, rich alto. On "African Dream," she explains her love of sounds from far beyond the Upper Midwest over music that could have come from Soweto, noting, "I knew instinctively/A distant part of me/Felt the harmony/Deep in my African dream." Of course, no matter how much they love exotic beats, the members of 47UMa remain Americans drawing upon a rock & roll tradition. For every world influence, there's one from the U.S., as they fall back on the sounds of Buddy Holly here and Bo Diddley there, often coming across as just a good-time Midwestern bar band, or even a jam band. On "Ojos Bien Abiertos (Eyes Wide Open)," it's as if Alison Krauss is fronting the Grateful Dead on a follow-up to "Touch of Grey." 47UMa isn't so much a true world music group as it is an American rock band that's spent a lot of time listening to the The Harder They Come soundtrack, Bob Marley & the Wailers, and a few records from South Africa, and tried to apply those sounds to their established taste for American rock. It makes for an entertaining hybrid that no doubt sounds just a little different from the average group playing in the local roadhouse. ~ William Ruhlmann
Release Date: 05 July 2010
Artist: 47 UMA

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