Simphiwe Dana – Kulture Noir

With two stunning albums, Zandisile and The One Love Movement On Bantu Biko Street, already under her belt, South Africa’s Simphiwe Dana is the undisputed queen of Afro-jazz.

But the first half of her new album Kulture Noir is more Afro than jazz, it has to be said. The deliciously soaring harmonies and vocal undulations on offer here would give Ladysmith Black Mambazo a run for their money. Still, it’s Dana’s own incredible voice which really stars here, reaching a Patti Smith circa Horses-intensity on Nidim Iqhawe Part 2.

Help from guest producers Thapelo Khomo (her regular collaborator) and Nigeria’s “Afro Juju” jazz guitarist Kunle Ayo ensure Dana’s grooves are hypnotic and her influences eclectic. Mellow, but never in danger of fading into the background – this is a lovely album.


Review: Alison Grinter