F roots Jamie Renton Dear Dad Tango review

FROOTS June 2009

SOZNAK Dear Dad Tango
Home Made Rekords 634479 813160


Openness, charm, a sense of fun and a taste for the absurd: all good qualities, all too rare and all found in abundance in this warm-hearted and musically adventurous debut from 12-piece Newcastle-based group Soznak (who take their name from an Arabic musical term). Housed in a psychedelic Digipak (deemed “really Boosh-y looking” by my teenage daughter), the album is dedicated to bandleader Paul Miskin’s late artist father and draws inspiration from the mixed origins of the band’s members, who hail from Angola, Spain, Ireland, Cameroon, Iraq, Congo, Iran and the UK.

The opening couple of tracks spotlight Angolan vocalist Beriso Lutonda, with a breezy hi-life style backing (Soznak are blessed with a booting horn section which helps no end in getting that hi-life sound), Sugar Stick moves over to Afrobeat with a sense of space that most of the planet’s Fela-Kuti-a-likes totally miss. Next up, Cooking In The Kitchen, a rousing Latin-flavoured tune that features recipes from various band members (including a Spanish pisto and an Iranian aubergine dish) and on through sweet Angolan ballads, jazzy instrumentals and brassed up flamenco, to the closing title track, a touching tribute to Miskin Senior.

This free-flowing meeting of musical minds will probably induce palpitations in pinched purists, but is miles away from self-conscious, synthetically-engineered “global fusion”. Surprising, sparky and somehow very English.

www.myspace.com/soznak17; distribution by Harmonia Mundi.

Jamie Renton

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