Chelsea Carmichael: The river doesn’t like strangers

The river does not like strangers is the first signing of Shabaka Hutchings’ new label, Native Rebel Recordings. Saxophonist Carmichael grew up in Warrington before moving to south-east London where she studied at the Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music and Dance. Since then she has been an integral part of London’s jazz community performing with the SEED Ensemble, nominated by Mercury, Theon Cross, Joe Armon-Jones and Neue Grafik Ensemble.

The inspiration for the title song came from Carmichael’s father on the Rio Grande in Jamaica. The river ran through the center of his village, Grant Level, in the parish of Portland. She said: “It felt right to refer to my own lineage and what has always been in me before I even got a saxophone in my hands.”

Myriad, with her catchy melody, is an explosion of creative sounds that you might never have heard from a saxophone before. The piece eventually turns into an eruption of color with Carmichael presenting an expansive solo. There Is You And You begins with a duet of drums and saxophone. What follows is a bold and provocative performance with overdriven guitar sounds and monotonous sax lines that prove Carmichael’s abilities as a songwriter.

After listening for the first time, you can easily see why Hutchings wanted to sign. The river does not like strangers captures the meaning of the African diaspora in an intelligent way through its idiomatic musical characteristics and engineering. Carmichael’s articulation is exceptional. His music pays homage to his roots but also highlights his accomplished saxophone talents.

There is a place (it is not here); Everything we know; Bone and soil; Myriad; There is you and you; The healer; Noor; The river does not like strangers; Hiaro / Hadali; Fractals (67.11)
No staff, location or date recommended.
Native rebel records

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