Keziah Jones’s ‘Black Orpheus’ (TMR 33)
Why Black Orpheus? In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Orpheus is a musician who travels to Hades to return his wife Eurydice to life. Persephone grants his request on condition that he not look back at Eurydice as they return to the world of the living. So overpowering is his love, however, that he does look back, resulting in the loss of his beloved all over again. Is Keziah Jones looking back at his Nigerian roots even as he loses them as an international star? Is he nodding to the film Orfeu Negro? Playfully repurposing a bit of Western myth? Penning an ode to the “Eurydice” thanked in the liner notes? His poetry is as ambiguous as his music is hard to define. What he calls blufunk blends blues, funk and Yoruba music in ways that defy description, and this 2003 release on Delabel is, like identity, layer upon fascinating layer.
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