Elle&Elles: Kalenda

elles2All in the Family

Listening Post 70. Marijosé Alie is a journalist, author and singer-songwriter. Her daughter Fred is a painter with a background in architecture—and a singer-songwriter; younger daughter Sohée is an actress, dancer—and singer-songwriter. After years of singing together at home while pursuing separate careers, mother and daughters mixed their talents and experience into Kalenda, a dazzling mini-world rooted in Martinique and, like the island, flavored with ingredients from all over. Their blend of languages (Créole, French and English), genres (blues, Latin groove, Caribbean drums, a pinch of funk, a touch of Chopin) and generations (the women are in their 60s, 40s and 20s) is explosive. Paloma, the opening track, is a rollicking four-minute novela about a woman who has a daytime fling and comes home after dark to her husband; a feminist twist on infidelity, it is recounted, in Créole, by gossiping neighbors (video 1). Soleil reflects not only the tropical sun but also the warmth of human connection: “Walking barefoot in the sun/As the light clings to the sky,” say the French lyrics, “Your sparkling smile entices me/In the wind” (video 2). The title song is aerobic therapy for dealing with the rigors of life (the kalenda is a dance/drama with African roots): “While the earth spins,” the women sing in French, “The pattern of your steps/Traces the dance of folly” (video 3). Across 13 tracks, Elle et Elles pit fear, foible, pain and melancholy against patience, strength, courage and love, their blend of blends forming a thousand facets. Rich civilizations, musical mini-worlds and creative families all thrive on harmony amid diversity. (Just Looking Productions)


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