This is Ola Onabulé‘s eighth studio album. He recently had tremendous success in the UK with a remix of “Soul Town” from his 2004 album “In Emergency, Break Silence”. The British Nigerian soul singer and songwriter who sounds like a mix between Frankie Beverly and Michael McDonald, recorded his latest 12-song set in London with George Whitty mixing the songs.
The album is “as much a work of exploration as it is a declaration”, according to Ola and his songs really have a unique sound – a soulful melange of Jazz and Soul with a lot of heart, depth and insight. There are some beautiful love songs here like “Love Again” with a catchy guitar by Femi Tomowo. And funky excursions to the 70s like the mesmerizing “Patience Endures”.
Ola softens the tempo and mood for the title track which is an ethereal ballad with nice piano playing by Pete Adams and some of Ola’s most sensitive singing to date. The piece also includes some deep lyrics: “Gentle words, shrewd and false, from lips that betray, way deep, where dreams sleep…where silence wakens every ghost, it’s the peace that’s deafening the most.”
Shuffling rhythms in “The Voodoo” cry out for another remix. It’s one of the highlights of the album with a neat chorus “I make the break through, then I’m the Voodoo”. Jukka Eskola adds his funky trumpet to the Hugh Masekela-like “Invincible” and the Maze comparison to me is most evident on the stepped “In Your Shoes” which also has a bluesy guitar solo by John Parricelli.
There is more mid-tempo magic on the Jimmy Abney-like groover “Orunmila” and some influences from the mother continent on “In The End”. Ola has some big band projects lined up for 2016. But first, it’s the peace that deafens.