Angele David-Guillou – Kourouma (Village Green)

A serene set of keyboard-led, classically influenced tunes from the London resident, whose previous solo work has been released under the Klima moniker.

They are deceptively sedate though with a sense of deep emotion and fierce intelligence at work underneath the still, almost-romantic surface.

The addition of sprightly violins, shaker, tambourine and clicking percussion to the waltzing piano turns ‘And the grass was singing’ into a beautiful far-reaching chamber pop. A kind of dream pop emerges from the hazy cascade of electric piano on ‘Dream of Leonor Fini’. Finger bells, click drums, saw, tambourine and pizzicato strings are all used superbly with a light touch to alter the mood.

‘But now I am joyful’ introduces vocals for the first time to brilliant effect, creating a bath of sadness with dynamic piano shapes before finishing with the devastating punchline, ”I can see the sky from the bottom of the sea”.

‘Our garden’ weaves avant garde leanings into another gorgeous melody, with counterpointed recitations of trios of letters. ‘Kuril’ has a rousing marching drum and folk fiddle up its sleeve.

‘Ubari Sand Sea’ boasts such an attractive piano tune that it doesn’t need to do much else, but the swelling woodwind, dark cello undertow and ingenious deep splash cymbal raise it up to memorable.

The title track is the standout for me, a song of hope and solidarity on a sombre, lilting piano figure, which features a strikingly beautiful vocal turn. Finding out from the press release that it is a lament about child soldiers in Africa (after the work of Ivorian novelist Ahmadou Kourouma) just adds an extra layer of poignancy to it.

That blurb also details classical influences that are over my head, such as Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman. But you can certainly hear Moondog in the counterpoints and clicking percussive rhythms. Many of the pieces are also short giving a satisfyingly concise feel to the album.

Affecting, at times haunting, and consistently reflective, Kourouma is ultimately supremely uplifting.


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