There’s a long, fondly cherished tradition of R&B divas pushing against the trends with their producers, and Kelela’s lucky enough to hang with an entire crowd of them: the Night Slugs and Fade to Mind dance collectives, whose members (including Girl Unit, Kingdom and Nguzunguzu) lent some of their spacious, showiest best to last year’s critical fave Cut 4 Me. But Kelela is no producer’s cipher; her debut’s as arresting for its tracks as for her blunt voice, limber yet restrained vocals and her knack of threading her way through Cut 4 Me’s challenging terrain like it’s no work at all. She plays Rough Trade this April along with a rotating group of DJs.
Fri., April 4, 9 p.m., 2014
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 26, 2014