Izaline Calister: Rayo di Lus

November 7, 2017

Perfect Recipe

Listening Post 123. The singer-songwriter Izaline Calister has lived most of her adult life in the Netherlands but hasn’t left behind, much less forgotten, her home island of Curaçao. In fact, the fusion that created her native language, Papiamento (Portuguese base with Spanish, Dutch, English and African ingredients) is reflected in the delectable stew of her music—Afro-Antillean, Latin, Brazilian, calypso and jazz. On Rayo di Lus (Ray of Light), Calister’s Antillean roots are front and center, powered by her warm, captivating voice. The album is a collection of pulsating and soothing rhythms that accent stories about society, family, relationships and nostalgia. Reina di pordon (Queen of Forgiveness), spotlights the too-patient woman living on optimism: “Thinking it was because of me that things were not working between us,” she sings, accompanied by the Aruban band Buleria, “I dream and hope that this burning pain…/Will become the happiness of an innocent butterfly” (video 1). In the sweet and melancholy Laman (The Sea), her memory glides on the sound of harp, waves and sea gulls: “I walked in many places to see/What a faraway world could bring me/I changed the color of life/I learned and I grew… but now… “ (video 2). Calister offers advice in comforting tones, as in the wistful throb of Mi Welita (My Granny), and in the aptly titled Aaaah, a merengue-flavored reminder that everyone has problems. Her love songs, especially the tumba-beat Mi ke ku mi stimé (I Think I Love Him) and the tender T’ami t’esun (I’m the One), rank with the best in any language. Another highlight is Kou mi numa (Chew Me Up), adapted from a traditional work song. Like many a good recipe, lots of toil went into Rayo di Lus, but for the listener it all goes down smooth. (EazyC Records)






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