Band of the Day

2013.11.21

Elodie Rama

Sleek French/English neo-soul that incorporates jazz, trip hop, and Caribbean rhythms
Something is guiding my sense, something is showing the way, something is guiding me home to you.
lyrics from Strange Island

The journey of Elodie Rama tells the story of decisive encounters: with the jazz band Blue Apple Quartet, a tribute to the stars of the golden age of vocal jazz. Later, she would boldly embrace Hip Hop alongside 20Syl and the eponymous French band Hocus Pocus. Their last two albums, Place 54 (on Motown Universal, certified gold), and 16 Piëces (Mercury Universal) featured the songstress. With them, she would perform in prestigious venues such as the Olympia in Paris, La Cigale, and The Zenith, just to name a few. In time, she would collaborate with British producer Natural Self, himself signed to legendary label Tru Thoughts (home of Quantic Soul Orchestra, Alice Russell, Omar). This effort would send her across the Channel to conquer UK electronica and will give her the conviction that her own story remains to be written. Her encounter with the multi-instrumentalist David 'Dtwice' Darricarrere (Smooth, Dtwice), producer and arranger of her first EP Strange Island, which was released on October 14th of this year, is only the promising preamble of stories to come.

A Singer foremost, but also artist and stylist, Elodie Rama is a multi-faceted artist. Born in Nantes and native of the Antilles by her father, a musician as well, the path of Elodie Rama is a sum of stories : those that can be imagined and those that are told, pointing to the fates of the History. Being a "mixed raced" woman born in Nantes, an axis of the Western Slave Trade, and a descendant of the African Diaspora, stands as a lampoon to History. As a curious coincidence of language, "Rama" means branch in Spanish, in this case it has become a branch which grows from history's roots. These multiple identities of Elodie Rama are the genesis of the sound recording adventure known as Strange Island.

An unconditional music devourer, her musical references are boundless. Here and there are the breath of French singer Arthur H, the enigmatic presence of Billie Holiday, and the percussive energy of Eugëne Mona's Bèlë, and the solitude of Mulatu Astatke's Ethiopics, and the sensuality of Erykah Badu have been blown into a kaleidoscopic array of brilliant colors... Elodie Rama's music reflects an in-between , a " chiaroscuro " as she likes to say , claiming a hybrid and outsized music. Jazz, Folk , Soul, Electronica and Caribbean music are woven together and reinvented into a new musical geography, hers.

Encounters, are the true red thread of "Strange Island" that reverberate throughout her lyrics and compositions. To encounter the World, to encounter the Other and our own history. Among dream cities ( City of Hope ), island love ( Presqu'il ), short-lived passions ( Clair-Obscur ) and imaginary journeys , Rama draws her own world in shifting contours. The use of both English and French alludes to her mixed identity, with poetic references to writers Edouard Glissant , Aime Cesaire and Le Clezio .

Daring the next encounter, eager for renewal, and always curious about otherness. Maps of imaginary islands she produces as visual artist are also a response to the same questions: What binds us? What unites us? Strange Island, equally foreign and mysterious, is the new geography, and a vibrant testimony. A hybrid, both generous and demanding.