02 Janice Jo LeeAncestor Song
Janice Jo Lee
Independent (janicejolee.ca)

Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Janice Jo Lee has had seven years between albums, during which time she has peeled away several layers of her former self in order to lay bare her spiritual, political, cultural and environmental bones. Lee, a well-known artist in both Kitchener and Toronto, is more than music. A poet, folk artist, improvisor, facilitator, creator and comedy workshop leader, she is nearing the height of her powers in this latest album, a beautiful collaboration with another Ontario native, producer JoJo Worthington.

Overture: Ancestral Song opens the album with a medley similar to the opening of a musical, leading into Oil in the Grand, a story of contamination on the Grand River, with beautiful vocal harmonies. Here I am is Lee’s statement of her new anthem of taking space and commanding control of her own power. Moonlight Tide is fun and slightly campy, featuring Lee’s poetic lyrics and vocal range. She Looked like Me is a folk-inspired gem about her ancestral Korean heritage, but could be an anthem to anyone feeling disconnected from their own lineage. Swim Forever features Korean lyrics to a strongly rhythmic melody and features the beautiful flugelhorn playing of Rudy Ray (probably my favourite track on the album). The jazzy Crumpled Heart Unfolding and Account Ability, the folksy Child Inside and her vocal looping on Take Space, the catchy Ancestral Song itself, and the power rock-inspired closer Patient as the Land will give you the vast range of Lee’s style, skill and passion.

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