Music from Africa
actress and television presenter best known as one of the Top 6 finalists on M-Net’s reality competition Idols III, in 2005.Born in Swaziland and raised in Zambia and Durban, Mpama obtained a degree in music and drama from the University of Natal (now the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal). She released her debut album, A State of Aya, in 2007.
Produced by the Kahedi production team (Max Herre, Samon Kawamura, and Roberto Di Gioia), the album presents an Afro-beat-influenced mixture of soul, funk, jazz, and pop. First single “Tamba” — a moving song about an African child soldier — showcases Y’akoto’s voice, which has drawn favorable comparisons to Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, Billie Holiday, and Nina Simone.
Produced by Malick N’Diaye (Ayo) its 12 English-language tracks offer up a mixture of acoustic folk, heartfelt soul, and passionate blues, and includes the single “You Will Never Know.” ~ Jon O’Brien, Rovi
She was inspired by the decimation of Madagascar, and these songs are her response. It’s a decidedly modern approach to Malagasy music, ignoring most of the traditional stringed instruments in favor of guitar (although the legendary Régis Gizavo does contribute some wonderful accordion and singing) for a groove that’s more Western 4/4 than Malagasy 6/8. Razia does have a beguiling voice, which she uses throughout to great effect, and the playing is impeccable. Some of the material, like the lullaby “Lalike” and “Tsy Tara,” is quite elegiacally lovely, while “Slash and Burn” does have some fire in its musical belly. Other than those, there’s a disarming smoothness about the disc. Though pleasant, it perhaps undermines the album’s intent. But Razia definitely has something about her.