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December 10, 2003 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-10

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 10, 2003 -11

Folk you: Furtado gets serious

By Hussain Rahim
Daily Arts Writer

Three years ago a Portuguese-Cana-
dian singer-songwriter came out of
nowhere with an energetic and sprawl-

ing debut album,
encompassed an
impressive mix of
world beat, strong
urban influences
and clever song-
writing that suc-

Whoa Nelly!, that
Nelly Furtado

ceeded largely because she was so
naive, ambitious and enthusiastic.
Fast forward to the present day and
Nelly's sophomore release, Folklore,
has all the signs of someone trying to
seem older. From the darker cover
and album art, it obvious that this
record is different. As the title
implies, her focus is on folk, and the
cultural influences and acoustic
sounds are strong. Though her idea
that folk is anyone singing about
what is around them, it seems like
she is just looking around singing.
While that is not necessarily bad, it is
very contingent on the quality of the
observations and the songs involved.
The songs just aren't as good and the

level of songwriting has declined.
More often than not this feels like
her bid to be taken seriously, and the
record is a bit too self-conscious and
The exuberance that appeared on
her debut is largely gone and the play-
ful abstraction and poetry have been
replaced by extremely overwrought
syrupy love ballads that further
confirms the notion that artists in
deep open love suffer in the writ-
ing department (John Lennon,
Recorded largely during her
pregnancy, her somewhat nasal
voice is lower and it helps
her sound morea
serious. Using
the same pro-
duction team
as before she
more instru-
mental guest
from artists
such as Bela
Fleck and the W
Kronos Quar-
tet. In the end",
there's nothing
as immediately .

Courtesy of Columbia
coming to a
drain pipe near
By Jared Newman
Daily Arts Writer

catchy as the material on her debut and
it ends up as an overly literal and awk-
ward transition from a
promising artist.

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Dancehall legend comes
up to the major leagues

"Anything done well works." Never before have all
the mysteries of music been unraveled in such a sim-
ple statement. This is what legendary bassist Victor
Wooten had to
say of his band
Bela Fleck &s.L
The Flecktones' LoWENI
combination of
bluegrass, jazz THE FLECKTONE
and pretty much
everything else.
Their latest studio album Little Worlds is a three-disc
monstrosity, ensuring that nothing, including an abun-
dance of guest artists, is left out. The Flecktones are
supporting the album on tour, which
includes a sold-out stop at the
Power Center on Friday. The Michi- Bela Fleck
gan Daily recently spoke to Victor and the
Wooten about his role in the band. Flecktnes


TMD: The Flecktones have fluctuated between a
quartet and a trio. Is there ever a time where you
decided that you needed a certain element in the mix?
VW: When (harmonica player Howard Levy) left,
we were a trio for quite a while, and we did miss that
melodic instrument that could play those melodies
over the top, but now we have it again with Jeff Cof-
fin playing the saxophone.
TMD: Is there anything in particular that he adds to
the band?
VW: He's
really good at
that straight-
ahead jazz.
HIT ANN ARBOR Jeff has a
very power-
ful, rhythmic
sound and that definitely changes the band. It's like
adding a new person to your family.
TMD: How was it to grow up with a family full of
VW: The reason you speak English so well is
because you grew up with people who did it also. For
me, music was the same way, because my brothers
were always playing. It came easy. We never really
had to work at it, we just did it all the time.
TMD: How can someone find out more informa-
tion about jazz music and the Flecktones?
VW: A lot of people that go to your website want to
know something about you, so I give people that
opportunity. But I also want people to learn about
themselves, so I try to put things in there that might
inspire them. There are words of wisdom and lessons
on how to play music, all sorts of things.
TMD: Is there an overarching goal you seek with
your music?
VW: I just realized that everything's related: every-
thing and everybody. A table, a guitar, water, it all
comes down to molecules. What I ask is "How is
everything different if it's all the same?" I just like to
show those similarities and how everything works.

By Hussain Rahim
Daily Arts Writer

After years of destroying dance-
halls with his live performances, Ele-
phant Man is
primed to follow Elephant
the recent wave Man
of American
mainstream suc- Good to Go
cess and accept- VP/Atlantic
ance of Jamaica
dancehall reggae as pioneered by
Sean Paul. With his first major label
debut, the man who has been dubbed
the "Energy God" for his legendary
stage show, presents Good 2 Go.
The production stays very true to the
dancehall energy and Elephant Man
maintains his same spit-fire delivery
that will have Yankees as well as
Islanders confused as to what exactly
he's saying. But it doesn't really matter
because he says it with energy and con-
viction, all while making you want to

The Michigan Daily: Why does
the fusion of funk and bluegrass
work so well?
Victor Wooten: Look at it like
people. There are a lot of people

Friday at 8 p.m.
At the Power
Clear Channel

dance. Included is the summer anthem,
"Pon de River, Pon de Bank" as well as
a sick collaboration with Bonecrusher
and Lil' Jon that will absolutely own the
dance floor.
This album is not stylistically
streamlined like Paul's runaway suc-
cess Dutty Rock, and the album runs a
little long, but it remains a quality
addition to what is hopefully a bur-
geoning tradition of reggae artists
pushed into the mainstream.

that say that a white person shouldn't date a black
person. But, when you do it, if the people are compat-
ible, it works. Music's the same way. Whether you're
talking about bluegrass, jazz, funk, anything, you're
talking about the same 12 notes. So, how you put
them together is up to you, but if you put them togeth-
er in a way that works, it works.
You can use the same analogy with cooking. You
can blend the weirdest ingredients together, but done
right it tastes great.


Tis the season to be pleading...

When you beg your parents for an iPod,
don"t forged titan this price.

10 GB

20 C

40 GB

a WAM 0 w '

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