Songlines 26 07/08-’04 • Kim Burton

Danceable eclecticism from Curaçao
Izaline Calister ****

Curaçao in the Dutch Caribbean was once a staging post for the distribution of slaves brought from all over the African continent to the Americas, as lzaline Calister, the wonderfully smoky-voiced singer, explains on this new release, and that is the reason why this small island has such a rich and varied musical tradition.

The singer and her band, who all hail from the island, have an eclectic and satisfying approach: although the songs themselves suggest a number of different origins —I swear I can hear Jacques Brel for one in ‘Redashi’— the entire album is unified by the loping beat of folk rhythms, whether their original home was in Europe, like the waltz (which has undergone a few changes over the years), or in Africa, like the tumba with its typically complex ambiguity of rhythm, littie-changed in its passage through time. The other thread binding it together is the solid jazzy piano of Randel Corsen.

The band is small. There are no guests apart from a string quartet on a few tracks. The almost entirely acoustic nature of the band, and a forward motion that is inexorable without being relentless lend the whole disc an attractive and which also repays deeper listening. I should check this one out if I were you.