Lorraine Klaasen: Nouvelle Journée (review)
Lorraine Klaasen's energy and charisma simply can't be captured in a recording booth.
There's not a whole lot of trail-blazing on Lorraine Klaasen's latest album, nor is there a strong sense of Klaasen's particular musical preferences. Instead, a warm, mostly feel-good tracklist draws from the last several decades of South African pop music, with funky mbaqanga-style tracks, sunny reggae, and a heap of jazz all setting the stage for Klaasen's powerful, passionate voice.
It comes off as an indirect tribute to greats like Makeba and the Mahotella Queens more than a cohesive album, a kind of portfolio showing Klaasen's versatility, which weakens the final product without making it any less uplifting or well done. There's an ecstatic quality to Klaasen's vocal delivery that's too big for a studio album; her live performances are both technically polished and a joy to witness, but the experience of listening to Nouvelle Journée falls frustratingly short of what Klaasen can do onstage. Her kind of power simply can't be captured in a recording booth.