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Album Review

Kali is one of Martinique's premier roots artists, one of only a few musicians who play banjo in the instrument's original Afro-Caribbean style (banjo traveled through the Caribbean islands as a slave instrument before becoming popular in the States). Kali is a true folk musician. He has been instrumental in birthing a style he calls "roots zouk," favoring acoustic, organic tonality for performing the party music of his native island. His fifth commercially available release, Francofaune is a lively, enchanting tapestry, weaving together soca, reggae, and compas alongside Kali's unique look at zouk. His first production for the roots music label Tinder Records, the album is beautifully produced. It's sonically clear yet warm and intimate, full of delicate nuance and subtlety. Though the majority of his social conscience-driven lyrics are in Creole, there are glimpses of English and French as well. Kali's French influence is not only evident in language, but also in the creeping minor tonalities and waltz-time compositions he uses, which are not found in the music of Martinique's neighbors. These darker elements juxtaposed against the sunny African rhythms and harmonies makes for a captivating listen. The world is just now beginning to learn about Martinique's contributions to the world music conversation, and there could not be a better tutor than Kali. Francofaune is a must-own. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez, Rovi

Customer Reviews

What an Amazing Band!!!! What an Amazing CD!!!

I saw this band at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival's day of Jazz in the South on an old tea plantation. I'd never heard nor heard of Kali before & I was completely blown away. They opened with a tune that had a sort of bouncy banjo sound and languid vocals with a really propulsive funk bottom. Luther Francois was sitting in with them on tenor sax & he sounded great as well. They took the place by storm! I immediately went online when I got back to the States & bought the CD from a store in Germany (iTunes didn't have Kali yet). I'm sure I would've gotten even more out of the music if I were more fluent in French, but even without that, all I can say is WOW.

ZOUK is a treasure of Martinique!!!

Kali's music is a creole masterpiece! For anyone who has ever wanted to feel the true Caribbean the tradition (and from the land) of Edouard Glissant. This is a beautiful album. The Creole language is endemic to each Caribbean Island, but each is perfectly designed for GREAT MUSIC!!!


Genre: Dance

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Kali began his professional music career in what many consider to have been Martinique's finest reggae band, Sixième Continent, which hit big with a 12-inch single called "Reggae Dom-Tom." In the late '80s Kali picked up a century-old family heirloom, a banjo, and began exploring roots music of a different nature -- music of the Martiniquan capital St. Pierre that was destroyed at the beginning of the century by the eruption of Mount Pelée. He can often be heard contributing...
Full Bio
Franc-O-Faune, Kali
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