Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara
Tell No Lies (Real World Records, 2009)
The sinewy strains of the riti, Gambia’s one-string spike fiddle, stretched tight over the sweat-slicked muscle of blues guitar can only mean one thing – that Gambian griot singer and musician Juldeh Camara and British rock guitarist Justin Adams have teamed up once again.
After the smashing success of their CD Soul Science, which earned this dazzling duo the prestigious BBC Radio 3 Crossing Cultural Award in world music, Mr. Camara and Mr. Adams are back with the recording Tell No Lies. Setting another gem into the Real World Records’ catalog, Tell No Lies is ready to hit the streets on June 9th.
The spontaneous interplay and craftsmanship have bonded the pair or as Mr. Adams put it, "I’ll play a riff, and Juldeh will say, ‘Keep that, keep that!,’ record it on his mobile phone, and start singing. I’ve never worked with a musician where we’ve talked so little, and played so much." This daring duo have tapped into a succulent sound ripe with blues, rock, desert grooves and R&B, making the spontaneous sound a flawless mix.
Opening with "Sahara," Camara and Adams blindside the listener with a gritty blues number underlined by Adams’s guitar licks, Camara’s riti and gutsy vocals and a power driven beat that positively sizzles. "Tonio Yima" crosses a spine shivering funk with the guitar twang of a backwoods blues number, set off by Mr. Camara’s delicious vocals and some sassy backing vocals.
Peppering Tell No Lies with the likes of the rolling African groove "Madam Mariama" and the provocative "Banjul Girl" and the bright, feel good rock number "Kele Kele (No Passport No Visa), Camara and Adams have hit upon a cross cultural musicscape that is just downright nervy.
The pair squeeze out every single drop of spare sweetness on the track "Gainako," a song that urges the young to discover their roots. The low slung blues track "Fulani Coochie Man," well, what can I say other than Mr. Camara’s sorrowful vocals and Mr. Adams’s juke joint guitar licks just mop up the floor with the listener.
"Fula Jalo," a song about not forgetting one’s history, closes the CD, is dominated by acoustic guitar and the shimmering call-and-response vocals of Camara and backing singers. Finding an almost reflective sound, "Fula Jalo" is a sparkling end to this CD.
Tell No Lies is a brilliantly worked kaleidoscope of colors with the additions of percussionist Salah Dawson Miller, bassists Billy Fuller and Simon Edwards and the electrically charged vocals of Mim Sulieman. Mr. Camara and Mr. Adams have created a gutsy musical collage on Tell No Lies that is sure to charm world music fans.
Buy the recording or MP3 download:
- In North America: Tell No Lies. Other recordings available: Soul Science
- In Europe: Tell No Lies. Other recordings available: Soul Science
Author: TJ Nelson
TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.
Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.
Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.