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Sauti Sol

Sol Filosofia (Penya)

Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., March 16, 2012

SXSW 2012 Records

Sauti Sol

Sol Filosofia (Penya)

There's a distinctive pop element running through this quartet composed of three singers and a guitarist from Nairobi, Kenya. How they blend this pop sensibility with traditional sounds from their home country is disarmingly accessible, particularly on tunes like "Bowane Lelisu," where their soaring vocal harmonies take full flight. Following the overwhelming success of the band's 2008 debut, Mwanzo, which turned Sauti Sol into a sensation in Kenya, the band received Best Group at the prestigious Museke African Music Awards in 2010. It's returned with this sophomore release, a cogent effort to forge a compelling Afro-Pop identity. The band sounds best on tunes like "Soma Kijana" and "Nambee," adhering closest to the indigenous sounds of their native land. "Private Spice (Spices of Life)" cops a credible roots-reggae groove, but the misguided "Row Your Boat" sinks like an anchor. (Wed., 9pm, Flamingo Cantina; Thu., 9:30pm, Copa)

**.5

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