Bokante and Metropole Orkest – What Heat

Album Review | Real World | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

From the first few bars of album opener “All the Way Home”, we detect that this bunch of musicians mean business, an outstanding collaboration between multi-cultural supergroup Bokanté and the Metropole Orkest, featuring the sultry voice of the Montreal-based Guadeloupian Creole singer Malika Tirolien. These two hugely respected collectives, led in turn by Michael League and Jules Buckley, meet with mutual respect and a clear musical vision, with an impressively uncluttered sound, which in other hands might not have worked quite so well. Retreating to Spain, with the intention of tracing the music of both Africa and the Arab world and giving the music a modern spin, both League and Tirolien worked on the songs, effectively creating an exciting body of work, which would prove to be both musically satisfying and culturally aware, then to top it all, you could also dance to it. There are also some enormously satisfying moments for the listener, particularly in the slide guitar work on both “Fanm” (The Woman) and “Maison En Feu”, the syncopated rhythms and drums of “Bod Lanme Pa Lwen” and “Reparasyons” and the soothing melody weaving on “Chambre a Echos”.