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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tchiya Amet – Celestial Folk Music

Tchiya Amet – Celestial Folk Music
2012, Tchiya Amet
Tchiya Amet is a musician, healer and teacher with deep thoughts about the direction of the world.  Her sophomore album, Celestial Folk Music, runs the gamut of musical styles and sounds while Amet waxes poetic on the human footprint and healing.  Amet’s voice is intriguing, though not fit to every song and situation.  What is abundantly clear is that Amet is invested in trying to make the world a better place.

Amet opens with a blend of reggae, pop and classic R&B on "Esho Funi". A slickly produced arrangement is paired with Japanese philosophy and comes out sounding like a commercial for the United Nations. The repetitive nature of the song and the chant like nature of the vocals more preachy than informative, and the song is unlikely to sway anyone's thinking. "Keep Chanting" builds on the concepts of interconnected was and transcendence. Once again, the composition and production are solid, but the song wears a bit thin before even a single cycle is completed. "Master Of Desire" returns to the reggae vibe for a messy and disorganized musical oversimplification of Lao Tzu.

"Love & Joy" takes a lackadaisical pop approach to desire, a seemingly out of step subject up against the prior song. "Egyptian Blues" mixes African rhythms, middle eastern sounds, and no sense or sound of the blues in a misnamed but otherwise sonically appealing song. Amet's voice is perfectly placed here. "Ast-Maat: R U Sirius Enuff" contemplates the need to free oneself from evil in order to enter the gates of heaven, and applies new age principals to classical religious themes. This is all done against the backdrop of a tremendously subtle groove.

Amet gets stuck in a rut mid-album, slowing to a crawl on "Po Tolo". The musical malaise continued throughout "Where The Dog Ran" and "Fire Water", with the latter brings to light existing gaps in Amet's breath control. "Equinox" shows at least a partial revival, with a quiet groove finding its way back into the mix. "Precession Of The Equinox" is a solid musical composition that is highlighted by the blocky, child-like piano style that greets your ears.

"No Kwi Siga" is bland and nondescript until you get into the compositional structure. Music theory buffs will enjoy picking this one apart, but those benefits will be lost to all but the most learned readers. "F#@%ed Up System" is a call to arms without any teeth, a banal call to action that is more about class warfare than a socially conscious effort to fix a thing. Tchiya Amet closes out with a cove of Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World", blending in a bit of Bob Marley's "One Love". This blend works to a degree, but there's something a bit uncomfortable about the marriage that's difficult to identify yet impossible to ignore.
Tchiya Amet brings a sense of world-wise grace to Celestial Folk Music.  Whether you buy into her ideas or not you’ll develop tremendous respect for her talents as a writer and arranger.  As a lyricist she gets stuck in the occasional rut, and there are a few weak spots, particularly pertaining to breath control, that get exposed at times throughout Celestial Folk Music.  On balance, however, it’s a solid album with some highs and some lows.  Tchiya Amet has enough here to keep listeners interested and coming back for more.
 Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
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