Review: Danny Michel & The Garifuna Collective – Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me

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-Greg’s Take-

There is a growing trend in the musical world where artists are collaborating and/or reaching to local music unlike they have ever done before.

I’m not talking about mega-stars teaming up with a worldly, often roots, sound to justify their own “artistic diversity,” I’m referring to singer/songwriters stepping out of their comfort zone or getting back to their own roots to expand their musical vision; for example The Idan Raichel Project, the Stronghold Sound Khat Thaleth project and Kobo Town, where each took the thread of music and grew exponentially by taking a chance.

One such visionary is Danny Michel. The Canadian singer/songwriter took, quite possibly, one of the biggest risks I’ve seen by any artists in quite a while and created Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me.

After travelling to Belize, Michel was drawn to the popular, but almost entirely hidden from worldview, Afro-Amerindian style of Garifuna.  His collaboration with The Garifuna Collective comes in the form of ten tracks and is definitively one of the go-to albums for this summer.

Its rolling style, interlaced with simplistic rhythms is enough to get your hips shaking and mentally transport you to a warmer, sunnier place where life moves at an ever so slightly slower pace. The sound captivates like the beaches of Belize and the songs radiate like the sun beating on the crystal blue waters. The songs are wholesome and insightful, graceful and fun and most importantly, as a whole it becomes a safe haven for thought.  Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me is the Franti-like vibes without the crowds and guys wearing white sunglasses.  It is one hundred percent authentic.

What’s most interesting about Danny Michel & The Garifuna Collective is the fusion sound; singer/songwriter, whose driving force is words, collides with Garifuna beats and rhythms, where the existence is based around getting you moving.  In theory this should be an audible yin and yang, it is oil and water. But by the grace of a few musicians wanting to try something new and an open minded approach, it is nothing short of wonderful.

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