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In an era where just being remembered is the average artist’s daily struggle, Zaki Ibrahim delivers Every Opposite, an album whose apocalyptic allure makes it impossible to forget. Producer Tiago Correia-Paulo attributes one thing. Her voice.
The two became acquainted in 2005 when his band Tumi and the Volume toured Canada, at the time Zaki’s abode. Elsewhere, they both are credited with building the score for award-winning South African film Otelo Burning. One of Zaki’s three songs for the soundtrack, produced by DJ Catalist, is also Every Opposite’s lead single Something in the Water.
A post-dubstep, synth-heavy, kalimba (thumb piano)-led track, it is at once futuristic and primal, and is now pulsating its way into radio’s mainstream having been championed by tastemakers such as 5 FM’s Catherine Grenfell who enthuses, “Amazing, soulful voice, beautiful songs! The gorgeous Zaki Ibrahim will move you in your body and soul and I look forward to watching her musical career grow as she rises above the rest.”
Recently, attendants at the house music mecca that is Miami’s Winter Music Conference reveled in multiple showcases given by the Canadian-born Ibrahim who was there to open the International Dance Music Awards thanks in no small part to her prominent associations within the genre: on long time collaborator Nick Holder’s Heartbeat, with DJ Kent on the soulful tech tune Sunrise, and on Culoe de Song’s album Elevation for instance. (Culoe also remixed Ansomnia, Zaki’s contribution to the soundtrack of Tyler Perry’s film For Colored Girls where Janelle Monae and Estelle among others also feature.)
You’ll hear strains of these dance formats deconstructed alongside pop, indie, soul, Hip-hop and afro beat sounds to create an utterly comprehensive album that is plural in its reach – (Every Opposite was recorded in eight different places) – and singular in its captivating effect.
Sade, Stevie Wonder, Zap Mama, Radiohead, and J. Dilla counting are just some of the icons Zaki names as life-long inspirations. “It’s told as a fable and is set in the future,” says the singer/song-writer who counts her fascination with science fiction as a major influence for her album’s loose narrative.
For her first full-length album, Zaki Ibrahim is impressively seasoned. With two preceding EPs she has galvanized her profile as a recording and performing artist sought after by celebrated contemporaries such as Spoek Mathambo with whom she has worked. One of them, 2008’s Eclectica: Episodes in Purple earned her a Juno Award nomination for Best R&B Recording in 2009 for the King Britt-produced Money.
Every Opposite’s diverse cast of producers – Kenyan producer Wawesh (Just a Band), South London production team LV, and Canada’s Ghanaian Rich Kidd (Drake, K-Os, Redman) – all help to consolidate a quality pan-global record set to raise the bar for South African cultural exports.
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