On her debut EP, Brussels-based multi-instrumentalist Esinam gives us an entrancing insight into her eclectic world of jazztronica.
Released 21st September via Sdban Ultra, her self-titled EP carries influences from different worlds geographically, culturally and musically. Blending traditional and modern instruments with her soulful voice, the acoustic sounds of the instruments are allowed to evolve and take on new dimensions, opening up a kaleidoscopic spectrum of sound and colour.
Esinam Dogbatse is part of a new generation of musicians bringing forth a cultural blend of music. Having opened for the likes of Nakhane and Témé Tan at Les Nuits earlier this year, Belgian rapper Baloji invited her to guest on his latest critically acclaimed album '137 Avenue Kaniama'. She has also supported Alsarah & The Nubatones, Selah Sue and Melanie De Biasio on her sold-out shows at Ancienne Belgique.
For the recording of the EP, Esinam joined forces with Jules Fradet from Studio Planet (Damso, Afrikan Prötökol). Producing and playing most of the instruments herself, the EP was mastered by LA-based producer Kelly Hibbert aka Almachrome (J Dilla, Madlib, Little Dragon, Flying Lotus, Ebo Taylor, Mark de Clive-Lowe and Arca).
Lead track 'Birds Fly Under a Heavy Sky' is a mesmerising opener that smoulders effortlessly against a backdrop of subtle beats and sensual rhythms, with Esinam's soft vocals and hypnotic flute providing the groove.
On 'Do Not Go Into That Black Night', she is dark and direct. It's a magnetic take on jazz noire that doesn't distract from the sultry inflections of her voice, while 'Gavoé' recalls the spirit of her Ghanaian roots in a ballet of instruments that display a level of personal freedom and sensitivity. Through merging different genres of music, we are warmly welcomed into Esinam's musical universe.
Esinam teamed up with Senegalese DJ and producer Ibaaku on the highly charged 'Electric Lady', who provided some distinctive musical hues. A track drenched in afro-futurist colours, sonic samples and collages freely mix with electric and raw sounds, supporting the energetic playing of the flute. The structure of the song remains true to Esinam's signature sounds: surprising ruptures, poetic atmospheres and constant affirmation of groove.
When Esinam performs live, she juggles traditional instruments such as the tama, kalimba and pandeiro, which she loops and blends with the sound of her flute and voice. It sometimes triggers dance, sometimes contemplation.