Charity Ekeke - She
(Independent - October 7, 2016)
• Check it out on Soundcloud
Having been a late starter in the world of music myself, I was interested to hear this CD from Nigerian-American singer songwriter Charity Ekeke.
As a child growing up in her native Nigeria, whenever Charity got money as a gift, she'd save it up to buy songbooks that included such popsters of the 1960s and 70s as The Beatles, immy Reeves, Nat King Cole, Cliff Richards, The Everly Brothers and Tom Jones. You can hear those influences in classic pop song structures and melodies.
The lyrics talk about issues affecting the people of the world today, in particular, women. Those words are combined with lush, multi-layered arrangements highlighted by retro hooks in the power pop vein. Don't Call Them is a sympathetic portrait of teenage mothers and sex workers, all wrapped up in a guitar driven pop-rock groove.
Charity's voice is a rich, warm alto, and really shines on dancey tracks like If The Roles Were Reversed, where the tone wraps around rhythm guitar and a syncopated rhythm section. It showcases her unique vocal style. Ditto She Bears, a track that spotlights her voice in a rhythmic setting. Talk To Me is a standout track, a song that asks its listener to stop texting and talk in a catchy dancehall-ish rhythm. Then there's a curiosity like These Times, a song with lyrics that extol the use of birth control pills. You Belong has a nice pop swing and a fluid guitar line that trips along. Vocally, she has a strong high end, not always as rich in the lower register.
My quibble is largely with the production end. It's a given that the vocalist and various instruments are playing in different rooms, sometimes on different occasions. But -- it's not supposed to sound like that. On a few of the tracks, there were moments when the vocals felt like they were almost singing a different song.
Now based in the U.S., She is a labour of love that has been a long time coming, with a two decade hiatus in her musical career when the kids came first.
Website: www.charityekeke.com, @ItsRealCharity, FB: charityekekemusic, Instagram: ItsRealCharity
1 - If the Roles Were Reversed
2 - Don't Call Them
3 - All I Know
4 - He Takes All My Breath Away
5 - Talk to Me
6 - Bloodline
7 - These Times
8 - You Belong
9 - Look At Me Now
10 - I'll Catch You If You Fall
11 - She Bears