I'm always amused by folks who insist on "purity" in their music. As if.

There is no such thing, of course. Look at cooking. Central American cooking would be lost without cumin, which is from Asia. Can you imagine Italian cooking without tomatoes? Before trade with the new world, that's exactly what you would get.

Singing in Tongues

Music is the same way. Is jazz the one true American sound? No, but it was assembled in America from parts that originated in Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. Appalachian folk music, some of which sounds like little else in the world, is a descendant of the European folk tradition.

Yes, there are still sounds that we associate with certain regions, but good music has a way of making itself universal. Compounding this are people like Andrew McPherson, who leads the Eccodek collective.

The band originally focused on African sounds, but this album marries ideas from around the globe (increasingly Asian, particularly) to dub, electronic and hip-hop beats. The result is a worldly sound that creates its own unique niche.

Speaking in Tongues is an exploration of Jah Youssouf songs. The African bare bones of the originals remain, but the sound is expansive and adventurous. This approach mirrors Eccodek's general motif of extreme fusion.

McPherson has produced polymathic acts such as Transglobal Undergound, Delhi 2 Dublin and Dubmatrix. These are artists who take what they like from whatever they hear and spin it into something new. Eccodek fits nicely into that mix.

You'd think we would understand that "purity" is not a goal worth searching out. Do you really want a partner who is "pure?" Do you want to live in a neighborhood that is "pure?" Is a "pure" society a good idea? Of course not. Music is the same way. Adventures beat purity every time.

Jon Worley

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