FUNKADESI

– Yo Baba

2008-09-15

Chicago’s Funkadesi is hard to fit into a little paragraph. Mashing music styles from the Carribbean to East Indian to Euro-American jazz and hip-hop, their third major release Yo Baba literally has something for every ear. Surprisingly enough considering the million different genres and sounds present, this album plays coherently, and frankly stone-solid, almost the whole way through. And it’s fun. Really fun. Every type of feel-good music is represented. Equal parts dub-style reggae and East Indian vocals mixed with jazz (“No Leans”) and a little hip-hop (Chicago MC Anacron guests on “Galsun”) makes for a captivating listen no matter where you start. There are half-naked slow jams like “Dolare” and scorching bongo solos all over the place, so don’t expect to just do one thing while this is on. The opening track “Crash da Party” is most essential for Funkadesi’s (pronounced funk-a-dessee) mixed-up sound, and absolutely electric. I’m also really digging the unexpected vocal presence of lead singer Navaraaz Basati, who lends interesting and frosting-like Bollywood vocals over hip-swaying, bass-heavy instrumentals. My Pashti is a little rusty so I can’t tell you if the language is 100% radio friendly, but the tracks in English are clean and these guys seem to be focused on well-initiated fun, not profanity. Even during the quiet times though, these guys know what they’re doing, making the whole album and intricate and riotous ride. Just a warning though, if you’re listening while attempting to clean your house, there will be bad dancing so make sure you’re alone. – Stef

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