173

Los Agentos: Afrykanski Snieg

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Out of Poland comes an eclectic band of musicians led by harmonicist Robert Lenert, wrapped in a kaleidoscope of sound and image. The name of the band is Spanish, but the players sing in English, French and Polish, and their music takes them through pop, jazz and R&B. A sprinkling of African rhythms and the array of African instruments played by Andrzej Serafin level the musical terrain, but it is the overall context that counts, and the band scores big points with Afrykanski Snieg's varied program.

All of the tracks are vocal outings except for "Broke My Baby's Heart," a blues tune on which Lenert lets his harmonica enunciate the emotion with a foreboding sense of sorrow.

Bozena Mazur and Bozena Okoniewska sing all the songs, with the exception of the title track, on which Lenert lets his harmonica wail across his own languid vocals. Both Mazur and Okoniewska bring in different approaches through their phrasing and articulation, injecting charm into the consistently strong melodies.

"La Neige Africaine" (French for African snow), opens with an old music hall flavor before settling into an inviting, and quite irresistible pop tune. Okoniewska's expands the appeal with her peppy playfulness. "Przeszlo mi" calls for a different kind of emotion, and Okoniewska shows that she is more than a one-dimensional singer as she finds the cord of sadness that runs through the song and grabs it, turning it into a standout performance.

Mazur is no slouch either. She illumines Nina Simone's "Be My Husband," the sadness and yearning in her voice carrying her own bluesy interpretation to great heights. A country-tinged melody is given gentle wing on acoustic guitar, contrasting with Mazur's soft, jazz inflections on "Leniwiec," in turn, giving way to blues instrumentation in changes that are seamless and riveting.

The band brings a range of dynamics into play, the instrumentalists never trying to usurp the singers; in complementing them, the group graphically demonstrates its prowess. With the arrangements adding to the character of the music, Los Agentos comes across as a highly accomplished ensemble.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Two in a Box CD/LP/Track Review Two in a Box
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Discussions CD/LP/Track Review Discussions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Crop Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Crop Circles
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Gratitude" CD/LP/Track Review Gratitude
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Regards To You II" CD/LP/Track Review Regards To You II
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Heritage" CD/LP/Track Review Heritage
by James Nadal
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Slade Alive!" CD/LP/Track Review Slade Alive!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "Good Merlin" CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.