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Various Artists

Marula's Shade: the ImprovED Album

(TRIAD Trust; US: 19 Sep 2013; UK: Import)

The album is a charity hodge-podge, “all songs written by TRIAD Trust” and friends, and performed by TRIAD Trust’s ImprovED troupe with the TRIAD Trust All Star Band. The troupe is based in South Africa. There is an isicathamiya song, and a lot of soulful gospel, along with a little hip hop. “TRIAD trains local leaders to create and sustain HIV and Life Skills education programs for vulnerable youth,” explains the Web site. There are photographs of people patting and hoisting each other. I want to be able to say that the Trust has unearthed a collection of undiscovered geniuses, but, to tell the truth, they sound like what they probably are: talented amateurs trying to match professional production values without the luxuries of a big budget and uninterrupted oceans of recording time.

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