Joseph Sheehan & Kinetic – Songs of Lake Volta (Ansonica, 2018)
Songs of Lake Volta is a fascinating project by Pittsburgh-based pianist, composer, and educator Joseph Sheehan. He recorded the album together with his superb contemporary jazz ensemble Kinetic and the all-female chamber music ensemble Kassia.
The material on Songs of Lake Volta consists of Ghanaian songs with original music by Sheehan. The result is a remarkable mix of Ghanaian melodies, contemporary jazz and classical music.
Kinetic features Joseph Sheehan on piano, the extraordinary vocalist Anqwenique Wingfield who sings in a variety of indigenous languages and incorporates classical, jazz, Ghanaian and soul elements in her vocal style. Another essential Kinetic member is guitarist Anthony Ambroso, who delivers an exquisite set of electric guitar parts influenced by jazz, blues and West African music. The rest of the band is an excellent rhythm section with Jason Rafalak on bass and Ryan Socrates on drums.
The Kassia Ensemble adds delightful classical music elements throughout the album. The members of the group include Dawn Posey on violin; Ashley Freeburn on violin; Maureen Conlon on violin; Si Yu on viola; and Katya Janpoladyan on cello.
Songs of Lake Volta is a beautifully-crafted album that illustrates a different side of African music through the prism of contemporary jazz and chamber music.