Band of the Day

2012.01.09

Ntjam Rosie

Soulful slow jams from a Cameroonian-Dutch jazz songstress
You ain't gotta be far to be in another timezone, we were right there with both our minds gone.
lyrics from L'amour

Ntjam Rosie (b. 1983) is Cameroon-born jazz/soul artist currently residing in Rotterdam, Holland. As a young girl, she started developing a passion for music and art. Shortly after moving to The Netherlands at the age of 9, Rosie began to take singing lessons and went on to join an all-girl singing group called R.e.s.p.e.c.t. Heavily influenced by soul singer Erykah Badu, she began to explore her musical side further. In 2007, Rosie participated in the Dutch National Pop Institute Unsigned Project called 'The Mighty 8,' where she wrote two tracks that would later end up on her 2008 debut album, ATOUBA (“Squeeze the Breeze” and “Bia Yon”). Alongside being fluent in four languages (English, Dutch, French, and the Cameroonian dialect, Bulu), Rosie's music is also known for incorporating elements from both Western and African music styles. Currently signed to Coast To Coast Records, her latest album “Elle” was released in late 2010.

Just like Ntjam Rosie's name is a combination of her African (Ntjam) and European (Rosie) backgrounds, so is her music. Born and raised in Cameroon, Rosie moved to Holland when she was nine years old, and her music reflects her worldly background. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music, and a minor in teaching, Rosie released her debut album ATOUBA. On it, she sings in English, Dutch, French, and Bulu (a Cameroonian dialect). Musically, it's primarily rooted in Western jazz, but there are also elements of African rhythms and melodies. Her latest album, 2010's Elle, is much more of a jazz-oriented album. Opening track “Morning Glow” starts with a pitter patter of bongos, slight wind chimes, and a smooth electric keyboard riff. The effect is like when the first sunbeams of the day peek through a crack in the curtains, lighting up the whole room in a warm glow and gently stirring you awake. And just like the sun rises higher, so does Rosie's vocal range and intensity. There's a tempo shift leading up to the chorus, with a slightly Bossa Nova rhythm. If “Morning Glow” is for the start of your day, “In Need” is the song to listen to long after the sun has set. It's a sexy slow jam, with just a hint of romantic string arrangements and jazzy percussion. Rosie shows off her prowess as a vocal powerhouse on lines like, “No need to rush/Let's take it slow/I want you for my own,” proving that this is definitely a song for the after hours. “Space Of You” would be the perfect song to listen to in a cozy cafe, the scent of Fair Trade coffee beans coming in as strong as intense conversations about economic injustice—but not as strong as Rosie's vocals intimately flowing through your headphones. Flipping the switch from English to French is “L'amour (featuring Esperanzah).” Seventies-style flutes flutter beneath a gentle grooving beat, and the seductiveness of Rosie's vocals is heightened by the innate romantic feel of the French language. A little over halfway into the song, Esperanzah brings a funky rap section, sung in English, which complements Rosie's jazzy swagger. Warm and soulful, in any language, Ntjam Rosie is a welcome new addition to your jazz collection.