By Kira Grunenberg | Published October 2021
The globally-minded artistry of percussionist Weedie Braimah on, The Hands of Time, resonates perfectly with Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s vision for his label Stretch Music, which is to encourage music appreciation beyond genre.
Whether examined through a performative or socio-cultural lens, Braimah’s work reveals an ability to provoke enthusiasm and curiosity. The record proposes contemplation with muffled spoken-word samples at the start of “Full Circle,” with bits that stand out: “Francis Bebey,” “History Of The Drum,” “Pan-African Experience.” From there, Munir Zakee takes up an emcee role amid a crisply mixed flurry of percussive instruments played uptempo. With Braimah’s djembe, the modernized production and diverse arrangement aims to show the beauty and relevance of West African folkloric music in a contemporary context.
“Express Trane to Bamako” excels, as dunun, sangban and djembe combine with Moog synthesizers and electric guitar. The galloping rhythm Luke Quaranta plays on karignan adds an amusing touch: The pipe-like instrument emulates wheels against train tracks. Though Braimah’s relationship with the djembe long proceeds this album, The Hands Of Time reveals Braimah is nowhere near the ceiling of creative potential for the drum or himself.
The Hands Of Time: Full Circle; Weediefoli; Express Trane To Bamako; Sackodougou; Back To Forward (An Ode To Bontuku); Bongo Genie; Hippos In Space; When Clouds Kissed; Send For Me; Ships Come In (A Lullaby); Rompe El Cuero; Sworn To The Drum. (69:19)
Personnel: Weedie Braimah, djembe, congas, dunun, sangban, kenkeni, bells, cabasa claps; Luke Quaranta, dunun, kenkeni, tambourine, sangban, calabash, claps, bells, karignan, triangle, djembe, bell (1–5, 9, 11, 12); Shea Pierre, clavinet, Rhodes, organ, piano, Moog synthesizer, backwards piano (1, 3, 5, 8, 9, 12); and many more.
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