Track of the Week "Let Go" by Kenyan neo-jazz crooner Jarel is both charming and uplifting. The gently whispered count-in sets the tempo, which slowly progresses in a jazz infused, whimsical celebration of freedom and release. The track comes together like a good recipe, with new and intensifying ingredients subtly combining to release immaculate and flavoursome sounds. The delicate lyrics intertwine with a habit-forming bassline and a light beatbox replete with carefully placed twinkles, trumpets and touches of airiness, urging us to take a breath and let the cards fall where they may. Ultimately, this track lays testament to Jarel's motto of spreading equality and living “through the music”. Not only is the song well sung but brilliantly penned as well.
Jarel is Nderitu Nduba, a poet, songwriter and “child of the bloom” from Mombasa Kenya. Also frontman of The Black Progression Band, Jarel takes pride in his sense of self-reliance and his creative approach to working. Jarel grew up listening to such diverse acts as Chico, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Brenda Fassie, Kool & The Gang, Bob Marley and Tom Jones and to-date has shared stages with the award-winning Sauti Sol, Bebe Cool, Fena and Antoneosoul. But he has found his own way to tenderly picked melodies and intricate sounds that make up his solo music. Having found his feet as part of the Sauti Academy, an artist development venture under music label Penya Africa, Jarel is still basking in the release of his first recorded track, "Clouds", in June. The coming year sees him working on the Plus Minus Collection, which will release a track each month between July and October. The first track of the collection is the heartwarming "Let Go", alongside the man with the Midas touch in visual arts, film and music production, Jim Chuchu.
“After doing 'Mwewe' for The Nest’s Legacy producer, Jim Chuchu showed me a long-unused studio that was the shit in the 60s and 70s Rumba and Benga era, which was up for demolition in downtown Nairobi,” Jarel explains. “Franco, Tabu Ley and Mbilia Bel are said to have recorded there. We decided to try and capture the nostalgia and former verve of the space and he brought in the recording equipment. The result is Plus Minus, the collection of songs we managed to do before getting busted or crushed to rubble!”