Dreams (Teajuana Music, 2009)
Tea is a Los Angeles-based group formed by French guitarist Franck Balloffet and American drummer and keyboardist Phil Bunch. Their first release was titled "Voyages du Jour," and now they have second recording titled "Dreams," which features original songs sung in French and various African languages. Balloffet and Bunch were involved in various afrobeat projects in the past and that has affected their overall sound. Tea’s African singers come various countries, including the Democratic republic of Congo and Senegal.
The best material on Dreams are the pieces with deep African influences, which go in unanticipated directions, blending Congolese and West African beats with American funk and soul. One of the most unexpected surprises, and a highlight of the album, is the participation of legendary British keyboardist Brian Auger. He was a member of Steampacket, Brian Auger’s Trinity and Oblivion Express and is still in fabulous shape, playing excellent Hammond B3 and Fender-Rhodes solos.
Other guests in the album include Congolese vocalist and guitarist Steve "Ikhaman" Ngondo, vocalists Ilongomo "Elo" Ememe and Chana, Nigerian percussionist Remi Kabaka, bassists Andre Manga (Cameroon) and Bobby Tsukamoto, guitarist Louis Wasson, saxophonists Randall Willis (Gerald Wilson, B Sharp Quartet) and Bobby English, as well as Frederic Meschin on trumpet, and Chris Darrow on slide guitar.
Dreams is a genuinely diverse and fresh Afropop album by one of southern California’s most interesting world music projects.
Buy the recording:
- In North America: Dreams
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.