Singing In Tongues - Eccodek

Black Swan Sounds

Whether you circle the globe physically or musically; it’s inevitable that you arrive where your journey began. “With ‘Singing In Tongues’, we’ve (eccodek) kind of come full circle from the first album, ‘More Africa In Us’," reflects sonic architect, Andrew McPherson. Actually, The Boston Globe gets props for the killer ‘sonic architect’ quote. BBC Radio and the Huff Post have chimed in with their own accolades. Generating that kind of a buzz takes time and a journey of now six discs to garner, which puts real distance between eccodek’s first and latest albums. But, as McPherson elaborates, “That first album was really tied to Mali and Rwanda, and this new one has its heart in Mali as well.” At the heart of Speaking In Tongues is Jah Youssouf, a longtime eccodek collaborator. The new album sprang from some jams with the Malian chanter and simple hand percussion. Then, McPherson, ever the alchemist, transmuted those chants into his high def, 3D sonic palette and the results are mind-blowing, especially if you’re plugged into headphones. Mali may be the anchor point but Speaking in Tongues, as the title suggests, presents a much broader conversation that’s carried on by eccodek’s special guests. In a way, eccodek is a facilitator for a multilingual dialogue. Another longtime contributor is Balkan singer Meral Mert, “I buy baked goods from her,” laughs McPherson. She adds her unique voice to the mix. And, classical Kirtan singer, Onkar Singh, “is the incense that kind of wafts over this insane tribalism”. It’s also refreshing to see Canada’s global music community working and playing well together. Aaron Lightstone from the Judaic/Mediterrenean fusion Jaffa Road adds a mean and earthy oud to two of the standout tracks. “Their drummer lives just down the road.”, adds McPherson. Ultimately, that’s what makes the polished gems on Speaking in Tongues so satisfying. These recordings have been fashioned together from elements readily available in the Canadian cultural mosaic, and that’s something that we all can celebrate by shaking our backsides to.