This week’s INTRODUCING artist breezes in from Paris, France with her rich jazz-folk sound. Cae (pronounced Kay) is a French-Haitian singer-songwriter with a sultry soprano voice like melting dark honey, and the songs on her most recent work, 2010’s Daughter of the Dust EP, stretch languidly over twanging acoustic guitars, upright bass and soft percussion in a soothing style that can best be described as “Les Nubians meets Cassandra Wilson.”
Cae, a graduate of two prestigious music schools (both the Paris Conservatory and the Berklee College of Music in Boston), sings in both French and English, and her lyricism is as much influenced by the history-telling genius of Toni Morrison as it is by her musical inspirations. Daughter of the Dust features “Gorée Island,” her collaboration with Australian folk artist Jeff Lang, about remembering the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade through a tableau of memory, upon this island that was once the “exit of no return” in Senegal to the slave-holding Americas.
Her five-song EP takes its title from director Julie Dash’s seminal 1991 film about a post-antebellum Black family’s heart-wrenching decision to migrate from their Sea Island home to the South Carolina mainland. Cae’s album is a mix of clap-along mid-tempo tunes rich with gospelized harmony (“My Hesitations”) and ballads that sooth like a lullaby, as on her duet with singer Shäy Mané, “Words Keep Slippin Away.” Daughter of the Dust is a lovely, enriching collection of soul-folk, perfect for the promise of warmer weather and brighter days. — Sun Singleton
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