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LISTEN TO THIS REVIEW
When The Pot (Single), AFRIYIE (Album) - Kae Sun
Buy When The Pot (Single), AFRIYIE (Album)


RELEASE INFO

LABEL: URBNET
RELEASE DATE: Single - April 23, 2013 Album - May 28, 2013
FORMATS: CD, Digital

Band Members
Kae Sun: Vocals, Guitar

BIOGRAPHY

So this is what a mosaic sounds like…

With a heralded stylistic hybrid of a debut album in his back pocket, Ghanaian-Canadian singer-songwriter Kae Sun is set to shine with his sophomore effort, Afriyie. Like its predecessor, Kae’s latest sonic collage combines elements of folk, soul, and reggae with his insightful and inspired poetry; however, if 2009’s Lion On A Leash was his road map, Afriyie is his destination.

“I’ve settled into a sound and vocal delivery that feels very true to me,” says Kae of his latest release. The sound that many called “genre-bending” on Lion On A Leash was actually its artist searching for his true voice – and he came quite close to unearthing it. Afriyie took him the rest of the way there. “There’s a real cohesive sound,” says Kae of the recording, “that is really representative of what I’m all about.”

Kae, born Kwaku Darko-Mensah Jr., has been writing songs since early childhood and can’t recall a time where he wasn’t “performing, writing, or creating in one form or another.” His early output borrowed bits from soul staples like Sam Cooke and Lauryn Hill, iconic reggae voices like Dennis Brown and Bob Marley, and singer-songwriters like Bob Dylan and Ben Harper.

It later became clear to Kae, however, that it was about so much more than just playing music – that combining music and words could be his spiritual calling. “Music is how I navigate this world and feel a closeness to God that is a very important part of being alive,” he muses. “I’ve never really wanted to do anything else.”

As evident in its purity and richness, Afriyie could only be the product of an artist with that kind of passion and artistic integrity. Songs like “Ship And The Globe” and “When The Pot” showcase Kae’s peerless, delicate vocal delivery atop rich rhythmic foundations and memorable melodies that take influence from different decades and a world of styles. And though it’s virtually impossible not to be enveloped in their groove, Kae Sun’s songs are meant to inspire as much as they excite.

“My background, how I live, and what I believe all inform the way I write,” says the artist of the themes he explores in his lyrics. The way he weaves his words together is remarkably unique and enhances how he engages with his audience. “The magic of it all,” he continues, “is when the listener can feel the emotion and intent without being able to dissect the experience.” Like gazing into an abstract piece on an ivory art gallery wall, each song will resonate differently with each listener.

And while Afriyie benefits from many interesting layers of organic-feeling instrumentation, Kae Sun makes the songs equally as enticing when stripped to their barest of bones – just the artist, his six-string, and a stage. “I want them to have had a spiritual experience,” comments Kae on what he hopes his audience takes from a live performance, and that’s the same whether he’s alone onstage or alongside his full six-piece band. “The music is made with the intent to shift consciousness; not just to entertain, but perhaps to travel with the audience in a spirit of love and truth.”

PRESS QUOTES

“Kae Sun is a songwriter whose work transcends contemporary definitions and exists in a realm of its own... His love songs are both passionate and beautiful, delivered with the sincerity of an old soul.” - Okay Player

"His voice is gorgeous, rooted strongly with choir/soul influences that give him a nice, funkier style. The storytelling is relatable and easy-listening." - What's Protocol

"If Frank Ocean and Miguel can break big where is the love for Kae Sun?" - What To Wear During An Orange Alert

That, to Kae, is “a means of getting to something pure.” And as the artist and his latest effort prove, purity is at the core of everything Kae Sun touches.

Reviews

By Ryan B. Patrick for http://exclaim.ca/Reviews/SoulFunkAndWorld

Give Ghanaian-born singer-songwriter Kae Sun tons of credit; Afriyie is a solid album that comes off as the genuine sound of the Canadian immigrant experience. Moving to Canada in his teens clearly had an impact on Kae Sun's musical direction; his disparate musical influences — folk, reggae, soul — reveal themselves on a project that's ultimately tricky to define. Transcending the often catchall "world music" tag, but reaching for a "K'naan" level of crossover appeal, Afriyie manages to impress, but not in a mind-blowingly way. The poppy, happy "Heart Healing Pulse" is guaranteed to put smiles on faces and "Dzorwulu Junction" will draw obvious K'naan comparisons, while a harder track like "Lion Unleashed" is a definite standout. But numbers like "When the Pot" and "Stillness," while technically proficient, sonically blend into the background, pulling down the album grade to reside in that space between good and great. Afriyie is an effort that promises Kae Sun will have a long career in this game.
(Independent)


Posted by: Justin Emmett for  beyondthewatch.com on May 28th, 2013

Kae Sun's sophomore LP, Afriyie is a fresh example of authentic Canadian talent. The opening track, “Blackstar rising” has a haunting appeal to it – like driving down a foggy road in Hamilton on a dreary autumn afternoon, which Kae Sun could relate to spending time at McMaster University during his studies. The album does not discriminate between poppy upbeat songs and deep philosophical musings, breaching that strange gap between suffering, joy, and soul. Notable tracks are “Weh-Weh”, “Blackstar rising” and “Burden of Love”, and “Ship and The Globe”. This album was difficult to listen to and slap any sort of genre to it,  which are always the best albums to listen to. Its hard to imagine that I had never heard of this band until now, especially since they were an opening act at the CBC music festival this year. There is no question that Kae Sun is going to find success in the future, as the art speaks for itself. There are moments where a reggae vibe slips in, some darker drums, simple yet expressive guitar and poetic lyrics that are impressive enough to listen to this album more than three times and still hope for some b-sides. Take a chance to listen to AFRIYIE when your head gets sick of “Get Lucky” and you need something less overplayed for the drive to the beach.





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