Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ma Mi La Kay

While in the Caribbean last summer, I had the honour of hearing this group play. We had been out shopping, and purely by chance stopped on the way back at a bar. We stopped for two reasons - we could hear cool music coming from the bar before we got there, and to add to that, it was some of the most intense midday heat I've ever walked in.

As we desperately fought off the heat (which was utterly blistering even in the shade) using the quite extraordinary Piton, we were able to listen at close quarters to Ma Mi La Kay. 5 or 6 guys (it wasn't clear) with a combined age of about 972 (apart from the bassist, who couldn't have been a day over 30 - no idea how he sneaked in to the group!) playing traditional St Lucian music in the sun.

Mostly violin led, but with banjo-like instruments, bass, and lots of really nice rolling percussion, it's amazing, melodic, cheery stuff. They were so good that I ended up buying their CD on the spot (it's mentioned on the website of the Canadian lablel that seems to have been involved in producing the CD here). It's been getting heavy rotation ever since I returned home, and it must be one of my favourite impulse music purchases ever.

You can download a 1 minute sample with a brief voiceover here (although it's crushed by the encoding to MP3, and sounds much fuller on the full CD version).

I'd definitely recommend getting hold of a copy if you have even the slightest disposition towards acoustic, live music - it's fresh, funky, uplifting, and really well recorded.

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