Tuesday Is For Tunes: Nneka
First let me offer my apologies for this belated and brief edition of Tuesday Is For Tunes. I’ve had several potentially life-changing events go down in the last couple of days, and not much free time.
This week I’m featuring Nneka, a soulful songstress from Nigeria by way of Germany. As I’ve been describing to anyone who will listen, Nneka’s vocal stylings sound like a rich blend of Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill tinged with afro-beat and reggae influences. While the blatant reggae sounds in songs like Suffri don’t really appeal to me, other songs fuse her influences so dynamically they transcend genres to a new, distinctive level of innovation. In an era of globalization, Nneka is a stellar example of how progressive and catchy music can be when it takes advantage of inspirations from around the world.
For example, take her song Heartbeat. You need to listen to this song. I cannot compel you enough to listen to this song. I’ve heard several songs about heartbeats that use the kick drum to mimic the sound of a beating heart, but Nneka takes that concept to a complete and total execution. Each of the diverse musical elements that make up this song are reminiscent of heartbeats, enough so to reset your own internal rhythms. Plus, her staccato, guttural intonation in the chorus interprets this concept so perfectly. It is a moment of sheer vocal brilliance. Perhaps I’m being naive, but they don’t sound too overly produced. I’m pretty sure she can replicate that aural awesomeness live.
For the last couple of years Nneka’s music has gained considerable recognition in Europe for its undeniable hotness. Here’s hoping that 2010 is her year to take North America by storm.