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Incredible Vocal Work: Dominique Fils-Aimé!

By Yan Céh |

After launching her career by appearing in the Quebecois version of the show The Voice, Dominique Fils-Aimé, who is originally Haitian, went on to sing in many international festivals, from Montreal to Tokyo via Europe. A methodical artist, Fils-Aimé decided in 2017 to conceive of her music as a journey through black music and its history. She threw herself into a conceptual suite of three albums: a trilogy which concludes with Three Little Words...

It comes after a first album released in 2018 called Nameless, which mostly explored blues, and the impressive Stay Tuned! with jazz roots, which came out in 2019, and received several awards including the prestigious JUNO Vocal Jazz Album of the Year Award. Talking about the idea behind this trilogy, Dominique Fils-Aimé explained: "this trilogy may look varied and eclectic, but everything stems from the same root. I followed the thread. We started with blues and sometimes darker songs, then we got into jazz. Then came this explosion of creativity. Jazz was the trunk from which several branches grew. Thus, this creative freedom in jazz was found in R & B, soul, hip hop, and in percussion and other traditional instruments that go straight to the heart. The trilogy therefore explores the ramifications of jazz as well as the roots of black music".

What is striking about listening to Three Little Words is the emphasis on the voice, and the sound work done with the artist's voice. The voice sings but offers rhythm and punctuation to the songs. From the first track, Grow Mama Grow, vocal confetti unfolds behind the lead vocals... We find this idea on all the tracks, an idea that gradually becomes a signature, and it reminds us of a Bobby McFerrin, or the vocal work done by Kate Bush (on Hounds of Love in particular), or even some classical choral arrangements.

Thus the very successful While We Wait, beginning as a little sixties soul piece, pauses so that an architecture of voices can take centre stage. The song is tinged with a dark and revolutionary tone, "we could be the change..." sings Dominique Fils-Aimé, in full voice. These vocal interactions make this album much more complex and lend a unique and innovative quality to Dominique Fils-Aimé's art. We Are Light is one of the most beautiful examples of this. In total, this artist has brought forth fourteen pieces of incredible music including a beautiful version of Stand By Me that closes the record.


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