Dirty Linen (p.56) - "Lacaille delves into the local island rhythms with a creative flair that is highly engaging."
Personnel: René Lacaille (vocals, spoken vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukulele, accordion, tambourine); Yanis Lacaille (vocals, charango, tamboura, brass, Clavinet, drums, congas, maracas, tom tom, triangle, hand claps, percussion); Aldo Guinart (flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone).
Audio Mixer: Chris Birkett.
Recording information: Chateau Richard, St. Cibard, France.
Photographer: René Lacaille.
René Lacaille may be the Renaissance music man of the Indian Ocean -- or at least of the island of La Reunion. Adept on several instruments, he's also an excellent singer and writer, who's taken the Creole style of the island to some global fame. This album includes some songs that were important to him, such as "Madina," which was played on the radio every morning when he was a child, along with plenty of his own newer compositions, which draw on outside influences as well as the native dances of sega and maloya. Throughout it all, there's a real sense of rootedness to the music. Even when it sounds quite modern, as on "Atmosfer," with its strange Odyssee accordion (which seems more like a synthesizer), there's no doubt this has a home in the Indian Ocean. Lacaille is an offhand but persuasive singer who manages to communicate mood and joy beyond language (although the booklet includes English and French translations of the Creole lyrics), and his knockoffs, like "Mazurka 28," composed and recorded in little over an hour, are equal to most people's studied efforts. Thankfully, he covers one song by Cameleon, the band he had in the 1970s with the late Alain Peters, and the first real gasp of new music from the area. There are odd little touches, such as using Tibetan bells and berimbau, albeit sparsely, which bring fresh and unusual textures to the sound. And the final cut, completely solo, is an homage to his father, even including body percussion. It's a nostalgic record to be sure, but one that's full of peace and pleasure. ~ Chris Nickson