At the end of 2021 I took a very deliberate decision to only listen to musicians who are digging deeper to bring us something new and creative. Perhaps what was not clear is that new renditions of old songs also fall in this category. And this my fellow melomaniacs is a disclaimer of sorts.
Simon Ndlovu sent me a message telling me that he was ordering Deelee’s CD, and if he can add me to the list. I laughed out loud because we have this assumed trust that there is no way Simon can recommend something of a lesser standard. Besides, he was the very first person to react to my post about my new year’s resolution. Of course, who passes an opportunity for new jazz or revisited jazz.
Well, the CD is here and I have listened to it. The idea of introducing Deelee to most of us who did not know her before (me included), it is truly a great move. Now she is on my radar, and as of this morning I am following her career as a musician.
I fell in love with Roberta Flack’s rendition of Trying Times for the simple reason that the music is well orchestrated. The lyrics then, maybe even today, speaks to the trying times during the days of the struggle, which was not only political but also how families were coping with the new challenges. I often wonder if those challenges ever left us, or they evolved with every new dawn.
Since then, there has been different renditions which have not really changed much or made such a huge impact; that is until I listened to Deelee’s sweet massaging voice which reaches places most voices don’t.
This afternoon, as I write this review, I am reminded of how Deelee has crafted her voice around this track and literally breathed new life, not only to the music but what the lyrics truly mean as we go through the pandemic and its trail of destruction. The lyrics ‘You got confusion all over the land, yeah!’ never before have they ever been as relevant as now. Everyone, lives in constant fear of the hazy and unknown future. However, it is through the voices such as Deelee’s that we are reminded that above all there is hope and we can never allow ourselves to be prisoners of fear.
I have fallen in love with how the entire album meanders through jazz standards while recognising some of the songs that were hits back in the day. Certainly, this is a selection that showcases the relationship between the old and the new without losing the meaning of the lyrical and music content.
So, what can one expect from this album? For the veterans, it is all reminiscing about the past. As for the new generation, it is a glimpse at what truly and genuinely constituted past. If I were to find one word to define this magical album, I believe in my heart of hearts that word should be ‘Wisdom!’
All I can say for now Ms. Deelee Dube where have you been all these years because I feel like I have so much to discover about your music. Bravo for a job well done on this album.