What I’ve always loved about music is the way it can change your emotions. Last week, I heard one of the most beautiful tracks that I’ve heard in a long time, one that left me feeling totally uplifted and at peace with myself. This gorgeous track just soothed my soul, washed away my troubles and made me feel totally at peace with the world. What was this stunning track? Well, the track is by Boddhi Satva and is entitled From Another World. It features a beautiful, yet almost haunting and spiritual vocal from Vikter Duplaix. This is one of the tracks from Boddhi’s forthcoming album Invocation, which will be released on BBE Music. Intrigued by the beauty of this track, I set out to find out more about Boddhi Satva and his music. Before I tell you about Boddhi’s new album Invocation, I’ll tell you about his life, which is a quite fascinating story.
Boddhi Satva was born and spent the early part of his life in the Central African Republic. Before long, Boddhi was immersed in music, writing, producing and rapping with the hip hop crew the Gbekpa Crew, which he founded with his friends. Although enjoying being immersed in the local music scene, Boddhi wanted his music to be heard much further afield. Luckily, when Boddhi headed to Belgium to continue his studies, his dream of his music reaching a wider audience came true.
Having moved to Belgium to continue his studies in 2000, Boddhi Satva discovered something that he’d quickly became passionate about, deep house music. Now that he’d discovered a musical genre he loved, he started immersing himself into the genre’s music. Quickly, he started to discover the giants of the deep house scene. Artists like Kevin Yost, Alton Miller, Osunlade and Masters At Work became some of his favorites. Now he’d discovered a musical genre he loved, Boddhi decided that he’d make a career out of it. DJ-ing and producing deep house music was now going to be his career.
Five years later, Boddhi would meet and collaborate with one of the artists who inspired him to make a career out of the music he loved. Alton Miller and Boddhi met in 2005 and produced two EPs Prelude To A Motion and See the Day. Both were released on Paris based label ATAL Music. These EPs were well received and quickly, Boddhi was receiving recognition from both fans and his peers in the music industry. Quickly, he established a reputation as a talented producer, one capable of producing stunning music, music that had an uplifting quality, By 2006, Boddhi produced the Ancestral Soul, released on Yoruba Records. After this, he became in demand for both remixes and new tracks. The next step would be for Boddhi to start his own label, Offering Recordings.
Boddhi established Offering Recordings a label where he’d seek to release quality music that was uplifting, has a spiritual quality and a message behind the music. In a way, it’s music for the soul, music that helps people forget their worries, fears and pain. Although Boddhi has an almost unique take on music, he doesn’t forget that the music he’s producing is for people to dance to. His music sees drums and traditional sounds and instruments and is a compelling and glorious combination. Having established his own label, another label owner would sign Boddhi to his label in 2010. This was one of the people who inspired Boddhi, fueling and inspiring his love of house music, Louie Vega, from Masters At Work.
Louie Vega was by now an Grammy Award winning producer, who owned Vega Records. Boddhi signed for Vega Records in 2010 and started introducing everyone to Boddhi’s music. From Miami’s World Music Conference, to London’s Ministry of Sound and everywhere from Amsterdam to Ibiza, music lovers and people in the music industry were introduced to Boddhi and his music. Not long after this, Boddhi started recording the album this review is about Invocation, an album that crosses the musical genres.
Invocation is an eclectic collection of music spanning Nu Soul, African Roots and Ragga, all with Boddhi Satva’s own unique sound. Boddhi says Invocation was recorded during visits to Africa, in his home studio, with a quite basic and modest setup. To record the album, he used just a PC, ordinary sound card, one microphone, plus drums, koras and a variety of other instruments. On Invocation, Boddhi collaborates with a variety of artists including Oumou Sangare, Vikter Duplaix and Vivian K. On Invocations are fourteen tracks, where Boddhi Satva collaborates with a variety of artists, producing some uplifting, inspirational and beautiful music, music that crosses the musical genres. Having told you about Boddhi’s fascinating career so far, I’ll now tell you just what Invocations sounds like.
Invocation opens with Invocation which features Freddy Masamba, a singer and dancer from Congo Brazzaville whose now based in Belgium. Here the track has a real African roots sound, quick tempo and spiritual sound. As the track opens there’s a slightly foreboding sound as caused by darks synths. They quickly gives way to a joyful and uplifting sound. This is the result of drums and percussion combining with the vocal, augmented by multi-tracked backing vocals. Quickly, the soaring and impassioned vocal, pounding drums, percussion and koras drive this almost hypnotic and sounding track along, one with a really joyous and spiritual sound and feel.
You’re My Woman is very different to the previous track, with its fusion of jazz and Nu Soul. It’s a totally gorgeous sounding track, featuring a beautiful, heartfelt vocal from singer, songwriter and producer C. Robert Walker, who also wrote this track. His vocal is accompanied by punchy, rasping horns which punctuate the track, while keyboards, drums, percussion and handclaps accompany him. The vocal is delivered with a tenderness and sincerity, against a backdrop that fuses two cultures. While there’s a jazz and Nu Soul sound and feel, Boddhi’s combines this with elements of African music. During the track, traditional African instruments sit comfortably with keyboards and horns, which play a huge part in the track’s arrangement. When this is combined with the beauty, tenderness and sincerity of the vocal, the result is a stunning track, one where two cultures unite as one.
The track that brought this album to my attention is next, From Another World, featuring a quite beautiful, but almost haunting and spiritual vocal from Vikter Duplaix. It’s a long time since I was just so taken by a track. From the first time I heard it, I was enchanted and enthralled by its subtlety and beauty. Since then, I’ve been constantly playing the track, and indeed the album Invocation. Vikter Duplaix is another hugely talented man whose not just a singer and songwriter, but is a multi-instrumentalist and producer. Not only that, but he has a fantastic voice. Keyboards open the track, before handclaps, pounding drums and percussion combine, before Vikter’s tender and almost spiritual vocal enters. There’s a contrast in sounds, with the drums pounding while the vocal is delivered thoughtfully, with a tenderness. Adding to the song’s quality and beauty are the lyrics. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear an important message “I come from another world…but that’s no reason for you not to be my girl.” This message is delivered with a sincerity, against an arrangement that fuses elements of African music with a Nu Soul sound, resulting in a stunning track, one of the highlights of Invocation.
With the previous track I said that this was music with a message, well the same can be said about Africa, a track where C Robert Walker collaborates with Boddhi. When Africa opens, it’s a sombre and thoughtful introduction where C Robert Walker talks about the war, famine and poverty that’s blighted Africa’s past. He asks us to “stand together” and bring about change. The vocal from Pegguy is delivered with a mixture of emotion, frustration and passion, as she pleads with Africa to “wise up.” Meanwhile, equally emotive and passionate backing vocalists accompany his vocal, while a combination of keyboards, koras, percussions and punchy drums provide an uplifting and impassioned backdrop to her vocal. Not only is this a song with an important social message, but it’s delivered emotively and with sincerity by Pegguy who delivers C. Robert Walker’s beautiful lyrics, against a backdrop that’s uplifting and beautiful.
Stabs of keyboards open Who Am I, which features Athenai and C. Robert Walker, who cowrote the track. It’s another track that explores a range of important issues, each of which are interconnected. Hatred, racism and discrimination. The lyrics are delivered with frustration and anger by Athenai against a spacey sounding arrangement where stabs of synths, crunchy drumbeats and percussion combine. Meanwhile, C. Robert Walker adds subtle and tender backing vocals, before later, his voice soars, laden with emotion and almost anger. It’s a totally compelling and powerful track where the hypnotic beats and the frustration and anger in Athenai voice can’t fail to move you. It demonstrates the power of music and makes you despair at those who hate and discriminate.
Life Is A Lesson opens with squelchy synths, pounding drumbeats, koras and percussion accompanying Vivian K’s echoey, floaty vocal. Her vocal is enveloped with delay and echo, while backing vocalists subtly add to the track’s beauty. Meanwhile crunchy drumbeats, percussion and the beautiful sound of the koras drive the track along as 120 beats per minute. This makes the track perfect for both listening to at home, or on the dance-floor. I can imagine this sounds amazing played at volume through a large PA system, the pounding drums punishing the bass bins, while the vocal resonates. It’s another track where the music of two cultures unite gloriously, producing a track that wonderfully encapsulates elements of African and Western music.
Nankoumandjan features Mangala Camara, from Kaye in Mali a former protege of Salif Keita. This is a track that features some glorious rhythms, that reveal themselves during the track. Powerful drumming, percussion, bursts of squelchy synths and of course the impassioned and emotive vocal of Mangala Camara. His voice has a compelling and spiritual quality, on a track that has a real African roots sound, augmented by synths. There’s a joyous and uplifting quality to what is an epic track one that lasting seven fantastic minutes.
Elengi, which features the vocals of Zé Pequenio and Heritier, has much in common with the previous track. During the track we hear some more of those catchy, hypnotic and frenzied rhythms unfold. These rhythms combine with punchy, pounding drums, stabs of keyboards and percussion. Add to this the impassioned vocals of Zé Pequenio and Heritier, who deliver their vocals powerfully, combining emotion and joy during an entrancing track with a real authentic African sound. So good is the track, so glorious are the rhythms that you long to submit to their subtleties and charms and dance like you’ve never danced before.
One artist that Boddhi was almost honored to collaborate with was Oumou Sangaré, a singer and musician from Mali, sometimes known as The Songbird of Wassoulou. She’s an advocate for women’s rights protesting against child marriage and polygamy. Ngnari Konon opens with dialogue between Oumou and Boddhi, before giving way to dark and foreboding synths. They’re augmented by percussion, flutes and koras. Then, quickly, quick pounding drums enter dominating the arrangement, while Oumou’s vocal enters. Her vocal is a mixture of emotion, passion and power. Backing vocalists accompany her, while the drums are accompanied by percussion, flutes and koras. This gives the track a sound that fuses elements of African and Western music. Oumou’s vocal has a joyous quality, uplifting and with a spiritual quality. Add to that the thunderous drums and proliferation of percussion, koras and flutes and you’ve a track that’s not only joyous and beautiful, but uplifting and spiritual.
There’s a real change of sound and style on Because I Know which features Leah Beabout’s vocal. The track has a contemporary sound, combining house and Nu Soul. Sweet sounding female backing contribute backing vocals before Leah’s vocal enters. Her vocal is confident and sassy, delivered quickly against an arrangement that features synths, crunchy drumbeats and flourishes of percussion. When the backing vocalists reenter, they allow Leah’s vocal to flourish, soaring powerfully, high above the arrangement. It seems Boddhi found inspiration for this track from his love of house music. Combining house music with Nu Soul results in a brilliant track, one that’s very different from previous tracks.
Continuing the change in style and sound is How Sex Changes Things, written by C Robert Walker. It has a similar sound to the previous track and features a beautiful vocal from Leslie Kisumuna. She delivers her sensuous vocal against crisp drumbeats, synths, handclaps and percussion, while backing vocalists augment her vocal. Again, the track is a combination of house music and Nu Soul, with a really joyful, catchy and uplifting sound that is absolutely irresistible.
Jah Sanctuary sees another change in style, with the track having a Ragga sound. It features Mic Mo and Yuba delivering the vocal against a quick and powerful arrangement where a piano, squelchy synths, punchy beats and percussion combine. They combine to create an arrangement that’s much fuller, louder and powerful. It’s laden with drama, similar to Mic Mo and Yuba’s delivery of the lyrics. Their delivery of the lyrics is impassioned and powerful, delivered at breakneck speed. Although very different to all the previous tracks, it’s an impassioned track full of emotion, with a powerful and compelling sound. It also demonstrates the many influences and variety of Boddhi Satva’s music.
When Enemies opens a siren sounds, before Rohan Xilent’s vocal enters. He almost raps the vocal, while the arrangement is quick, the beats crunchy and the synths squelchy. Percussion and koras augment this combination, the arrangement growing and growing, while Rohan’s delivery of the lyrics is quick-fire and impassioned. It’s a track that combines synths that belong in an old Acid House track, with crunchy beats you’d find in a hip hop track, while the percussion has an authentic African sound. Towards the end of the track, the arrangement grows in power and volume. Eventually, it reaches a dramatic, impressive and impassioned crescendo, before as if burnt out, gradually tailing off, as if so much passion and energy has been expended, the track has nothing left to give. No wonder though. For five minutes, the music was just a majestic combination of sheer energy and passion, especially Rohan Xilent’s impassioned vocal.
Closing Invocation is one of the most beautiful tracks Stop Crying which features Sage Monk. It’s a track with a really spiritual sound. A slow emotive vocal accompanied by handclaps, percussion and moody synths, gives way to a spoken vocal before the crisp and crunchy drumbeats make their appearance. Accompanied by waves breaking on the beach, that haunting vocal returns, it’s beauty washing over you, before the spoken vocal returns. With synths, the sound of the sea, drumbeats and handclaps accompanying the vocal, the track reveals its subtleties and hidden charms. What makes this such a beautiful track is that beautiful, haunting vocal, which soars emotively and passionately, as the arrangement quickens, while the waves are a constant companion to his pleas. Synths, whistles, drumbeats and percussion drive the track and indeed the album to it’s dramatic, yet beautiful conclusion. This is just the perfect track to close Invocation, one that sums up what Boddhi Satva’s music is about. It has a dramatic, but joyous, uplifting and spiritual sound, which fuses various styles and sounds seamlessly.
Having immersed myself in Invocation, Boddhi Stava’s forthcoming album which will soon be released on BBE Music, I can honestly say that this is one of the most beautiful, brilliant and compelling albums I’ve heard recently. Invocation sees Boddhi Satva fuse a variety of musical styles and sounds together. On Invocation there’s everything from authentic African music, Ragga and hip hop to Nu Soul, jazz and house music. The album opens with Invocation an authentic slice of African music, while jazz and Nu Soul unite on You’re My Woman, whereas From Another World sees African music with Nu Soul unite. How Sex Changes Things and Because I Know see house music and Nu Soul combine, while Jah Sanctuary has a Ragga sound before Enemies features elements of hip hop. This demonstrates the sheer variety of music on Invocation. Each of the fourteen tracks on Invocation has something different to offer, with each track given its own twist by Boddhi Satva. Not only has each track something different to offer, but each track is of the highest quality. This is the same quality that can be found in all of Boddhi’s music, of which there is plenty to explore. Since he started making music, Boddhi is known as one of the hardest working people in dance music. This lead to him being given the affectionate nickname The Machine. Having started recording Invocation in 2010, the album was completed later that year. He hoped that recording Invocation would help heal the inner pain he talks about in the album’s sleeve-notes. Well, I sincerely hope that recording Invocation proved to be a cathartic experience, because having spent so long listening to Invocation it’s proven to have been a cathartic experience for me. Like all good music, the music on Invocation has the power to provoke a variety of emotions. Happiness, joy, sadness, and frustration are just a few of the variety of emotions the music on Invocation provoked. However, mostly I found Boddhi Satva’s music uplifting, which is what he always seeks to do when he records music. So, if you want to experience some of the most beautiful and emotive music you’ll have the pleasure of hearing this year, then you should seek out Boddhi Satva’s brilliant forthcoming album on BBE Music Invocation. Standout Tracks: You’re My Woman, From Another World, Ngnari Konon and Because I Know.