So this is what a mosaic sounds like…
With a heralded stylistic hybrid of a debut album in his back pocket, Ghanaian- Canadian singer-songwriter Kae Sun is set to shine with his sophomore effort, Afriyie. Like its predecessor, Kae’s latest sonic collage combines elements of folk, soul, and reggae with his insightful and inspired poetry; however, if 2009’s Lion On A Leash was his road map, Afriyie is his destination.
“I’ve settled into a sound and vocal delivery that feels very true to me,” says Kae of his latest release. The sound that many called “genre-bending” on Lion On A Leash was actually its artist searching for his true voice – and he came quite close to unearthing it. Afriyie took him the rest of the way there. “There’s a real cohesive sound,” says Kae of the recording, “that is really representative of what I’m all about.”
Kae, born Kwaku Darko-Mensah Jr., has been writing songs since early childhood and can’t recall a time where he wasn’t “performing, writing, or creating in one form or another.” His early output borrowed bits from soul staples like Sam Cooke and Lauryn Hill, iconic reggae voices like Dennis Brown and Bob Marley, and singer-songwriters like Bob Dylan and Ben Harper.
It later became clear to Kae, however, that it was about so much more than just playing music – that combining music and words could be his spiritual calling. “Music is how I navigate this world and feel a closeness to God that is a very important part of being alive,” he muses. “I’ve never really wanted to do anything else.”
As evident in its purity and richness, Afriyie could only be the product of an artist with that kind of passion and artistic integrity. Songs like “Ship And The Globe” and “When The Pot” showcase Kae’s peerless, delicate vocal delivery atop rich rhythmic foundations and memorable melodies that take influence from different decades and a world of styles. And though it’s virtually impossible not to be enveloped in their groove, Kae Sun’s songs are meant to inspire as much as they excite.
“My background, how I live, and what I believe all inform the way I write,” says the artist of the themes he explores in his lyrics. The way he weaves his words together is remarkably unique and enhances how he engages with his audience. “The magic of it all,” he continues, “is when the listener can feel the emotion and intent without being able to dissect the experience.” Like gazing into an abstract piece on an ivory art gallery wall, each song will resonate differently with each listener.
And while Afriyie benefits from many interesting layers of organic-feeling instrumentation, Kae Sun makes the songs equally as enticing when stripped to their barest of bones – just the artist, his six-string, and a stage. “I want them to have had a spiritual experience,” comments Kae on what he hopes his audience takes from a live performance, and that’s the same whether he’s alone onstage or alongside his full six-piece band. “The music is made with the intent to shift consciousness; not just to entertain, but perhaps to travel with the audience in a spirit of love and truth.” That, to Kae, is “a means of getting to something pure.” And as the artist and his latest effort prove, purity is at the core of everything Kae Sun touches.
Kae Sun Artist
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