Various Artists

North End Music Volume 1 (YAC/BridgeCAT)

Seven artists share this exposure opportunity, achieving unity despite the variations. A neighbourhood encompassing the Mi’kmaq Friendship Centre, Hope Blooms Garden and Centre for Art Tapes has nurtured them to varying degrees. "Mi'kmaq Honour Song", a lengthy rhythmic vocal contemplation, kicks off the set, performed by Rebecca Moore and Glenn Knockwood. If your touchstone for Aboriginal music is A Tribe Called Red, this will slow your heartbeat down provided you let it, while your brain contemplates clouds. Bookending the disc is poet laureate El Jones with a reading of her poem "Halifax", Just as staccato but a little more light-hearted than her usual fare, it balances Africville and blood outside the Menz Bar with references to "some cold" and "Barrett’s Privateers". The core of the album is mostly funk and hip-hop. Maje of Gentleman's Mafia injects confession into a flurry of boasts. Cunny's rap glides across playful piano. RealEyez (Erin Dorrington) rhymes with ease when not singing robustly on "Most of Our Lives". BenG's instrumental bed outshines his words. The simple gospel number by Sharon Johnson and Murlita Williams is nestled among the modern tracks, effectively summoning a timeless Gottingen Street in the imagination.

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