A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Teni, a London-based producer and soul singer, has the heart of a lion, and a voice like a caramel latte. She hypnotizes as high priestess on Afrodisiac, her debut album, as she takes you on a journey through a night life of passion, seduction, possessiveness and revolution.
Bet you didn’t know we have a warmth for afrobeat and spiritually conscious, militant reggae music, did you? Well, we do. I’ve got the same birthday as Bob Marley, and feel a responsibility to keep it pure. There are few things that leave a more foul taste in my throatb than bland, whitewashed coffee shop soul, funk or reggae, and my heart leaps a little bit, when I feel that spark, that spark of pure-heartedness.
Teni is the real deal, with a strong, beating heart, with an obvious love of all kinds of African music. This is not all music for the sit in, either, although there is a militant feel to some of these tracks, especially “Lionheart” (posted above). There’s songs for seduction, here, like the title track, and for a night on the town, like the club-friendly “Your Love Is The Key”, which could be her breakout single.
Some of the tracks on Teni’s soundcloud are 3 years old, so Afrodisiac was obviously some time in the making. It’s thrilling to watch the progression, where some of the productions sound raw and homemade, like the slippery Indian funk of “When Will It Be,” which has a raw, Grime-y feel to it, to the full-blooded studio feel of the roots reggae “Wilderness,” complete with full horn section. A lot of the material on Afrodisiac sounds like classics like Nigeria 70 or Toots & The Maytals, fronted by a soulful strong woman bandleader, like Ella Fitzgerald or Sade. After hearing so many generic bedroom productions, it’s thrilling to hear a full band, with tight arrangements and good recordings. This is a BAND. They are well-rehearsed and cohesive, and it makes all the difference.
Teni clearly makes music out of love: love of music and of people and of The Earth. I find it motivating and moving that she cares enough about Africa to sing songs about it, to try and do something and make a difference. The love will carry you through, keep you going enough to get really good. Judging from the progress and wide tastes of her debut album, there’s no telling where she could go or what she could do.
I know a bunch of you that read this blog are in England, so do please take a moment to follow these links and keep up with Teni. If you like to dance or are looking for a soulful Saturday night, keep yr eyes peeled for performances. Support real people, real music made for the right reasons.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead
Purchase @ Amazon: Afrodisiac