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Now Hear This: Invisible Session | Echoes Of Africa

I'm getting caught up on the good albums that have come out lately. Like this one.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After a long hiatus since their homonymous 2006 release, The Invisible Session are back with Echoes Of Africa. Written in collaboration with trombonist and multi-instrumentalist Gianluca Petrella, and with lyrics by poet, rapper, and MC Martin Thomas Paavilainen (aka Benjamin “Bentality” Paavilainen), Echoes of Africa is an homage to African music.

From a recording point of view, The Invisible Session embrace jazz as a constantly evolving mosaic — a fusion of musical influences that finds force and authenticity in the groove and cultural synergies. The ensemble includes some of the best musicians on the international jazz scene: kora player Jalimansa Haruna Kuyateh, guitarist Riccardo Onori, singer Joyce Elaine Yuille, drummer & percussionist Abdissa “Mamba” Assefa, and bassist Jukka ”Jukkis” Kiviniemi.

Drawing influences from the rhythmic structures of Afrobeat and Ethio-jazz, the 11 compositions sparkle in various timbres by incorporating elements of funk, psychedelia, and modal music. But it is the intersection of ancestral melodies built on African pentatonic scales that gives the album its sustained flow and vibrant atmosphere. Under the influence of vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke’s music, Journey To The East incorporates sound studies on Ethiopian music with melodic structures built on the Bati Lydian major scale — a pentatonic scale with origins in the Middle East. Ethiopia is also celebrated in Entoto and Breathe the Rhythm — both entirely written by Petrella.

Hearing The Call was conceived and written in 2018, and expands on the themes present in Haki R. Madhubuti’s poem Children, released on Medasi’s 1984 album Nation. In Hearing The Call, ancestral sounds and percussions hypnotize the listener, while the performance of the poem written and interpreted by African-American/Finnish artist Benjamin “Bentality” Paavilainen, flows with naturalness.

A theme already addressed by The Invisible Session is climate change. On Echoes of Africa, Ideas Can Make the World and People All Around The World Can Make It are messages of hope and encouragement. Further reflections on this theme can be found in Mother Forgive Us, with lyrics and interpretation channeled by Bentality and Joyce Elaine Yuille.”