Zambian born singer/songwriter, Ccippo, is one of the hottest musical acts working in Perthshire at the moment. Ccippo (pronounced Chippo), brought his 'The African Music Experience' show to Perth Theatre a couple of weeks ago and I was totally gutted that I couldn't make it. However, when I interviewed him ahead of the gig (you can read that interview here), he mentioned that he was working on some new material, and now it has arrived. At 6 tracks, the 'My Baba' EP is getting more into the realms of mini-album. I thought I would give it a spin and a review while I waited for his next Perth live show, which will hopefully be later this year.
Ccippo takes elements of traditional Zambian music, including Kalindula, and other African influences and fuses them with sounds perhaps more familiar to western ears, like jazz, blues, and reggae. On my first listen of the EP, a couple of the tracks really jump out at me. The laid back 'Tindoona' starts with sampled bird song and the sort of percussive, blow-dart flute-playing that wouldn't sound out of place coming from the lips of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. Combine that with some great but simple, restrained piano and slowly building percussion and you've got the makings of a great track. Definitely one of the strongest on the album.
Another track that has classic written all over it is the slinky Ni Bwana (He is Lord), which Ni Bwana is really elevated by exquisite strings that lend a sumptuous cinematic gloss to an already tremendous song.with its nylon guitar, intimate feel and softly sung vocals has a distinctly Bossa Nova vibe. What really elevates the track though is the vocal breakdown at about the one minute mark, that and the exquisite strings lend a sumptuous cinematic gloss to an already tremendous song.
The title track, 'My Baba' and 'I Will Follow You' are the only tracks sung entirely in English. In Zambia, Baba means Father or Lord and 'My Baba' is very much a gospel-tinged praise anthem. Again, the song is greatly bolstered by a lovely string arrangement and, this time, also by a great brass part. Plus there is some lovely, bluesy lead guitar. I wasn't able to talk to Ccippo before writing this review so I'm not entirely sure who provided the guitar part but it is a great addition to the track. The other English language track on the EP is the catchy 'I'll Follow You', which with an epic synth sound and a memorable vocal melody is the poppiest song here.
The sound and feel of the whole album is very professional and 'I'll Follow You' is no exception. I particularly like the way the song blends traditional percussion with modern production techniques and an old skool RnB aesthetic. The album was mastered by Dave McFarlane, and anyone who knows his work won't be surprised that it sounds absolutely amazing.
I only have a couple of minor criticisms of 'My Baba'. Although I love the drum machine sound (particularly the tom-tom) on 'He Answers by Fire', and overall it is a strong song, tonally it just doesn't blend that well with the other tracks on the EP. My only other gripe is that I was looking forward to a full-length release and really wish this was longer. On second thoughts, I'm not sure that enjoying something and wanting more actually qualifies as criticism. Anyway, this mini-album is well worth a listen and I can't wait to catch Ccippo live.
'My Baba' is available on ccippo.com and can be streamed on all major streaming services.
Ccippo contacted me with a little bit more information about this release so I am passing it on to you:
'So, There’s a bit of a story to that EP. I’ve been travelling around playing in various venues and selling CDs and people have been asking about the new album. So I put a small collection of some of the new material I’ve been performing and came up with this mini-album so people who can’t wait for the whole project can download can have something to tide them over. It’s going to be a 12 track album and David should be done mastering by the end of this month.
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