Delving into Regina Carter’s Reverse Thread

Mar 11, 2010

If you're like me, and you think the violinist's newest project sounds incredibly interesting, yet you have NO IDEA what this new project is going to sound like, listen up. It's time to delve into the depths of Carter's Reverse Thread.

Carter focuses her exploration of this hopeful history lesson on Uganda, Mali, and Senegal. Why did Carter choose these specific areas? "There is an immense amount of amazing music coming from all around the world, much of which is barely accessible," she explains. "Reverse Thread gave me the opportunity to explore and celebrate a tiny portion of music that moved me." 

Celebration and movement are key words in describing the sound of this album. The songs have a lyrical, hopeful sound to them, skipping along with the plucking of strings and beat of drums. The soprano voice of the violin skims atop the mellow bass and drum sounds rumbling underneath in a brisk, confident ride.

The pieces from Uganda are centered on field recordings from a Jewish community in eastern Uganda. While the community has no genetic ties to Judaism, they still practice the religion. Two of these pieces are "Hiwumbe Awumba" and "Mwana Talitambula," have an "uplifting quality and spirit of voice," that, according to Carter's latest press release, depict the "resiliency of the human spirit."

Other pieces weave together the rhythmic drum beats typical of Senegalese music with the stringed Malian instrument, the kora, alongside the transcendent voice of Carter's violin. Yacouba Sissoko, Carter's special guest from Mali, aids this cultural weave with his master kora skills.

The sounds range from jazzy to smooth African beats to the almost jig-like quality of "Hiwumbe Awumba." But the pleasure of listening created by the diversity and depth of sound carries through the album.

Carter added Will Holshouser's accordion to the mix to help give a sound of hope to the songs that is so necessary to the communities that Carter's band is representing through their music.

My personal favorites? "N'Teri," a tantalizing piece featuring much of Sissoko's mesmerizing kora. Or "Artistiya," a jiving piece with strong base and drums that creates such a funky rhythm that you won't be able to deny some foot-tapping.

Hopefully I've helped you to gain perspective on Carter's Reverse Thread!  I hope to see you there, and enjoy the show!

- Melissa Wray
Marketing Intern 


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