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  • Jonathan Widran

SYNIA CARROLL, Water is My Song

Writer Bob Seymour wildly understates the peripatetic nature of transcendent, multi-genre singer and wise, insightful storyteller Synia Carroll’s life and artistry in the opening line of his liner notes for her second album Water is My Song: “For Synia, it has always been about telling a story, about taking you on a journey.”

Before delving into just how she does this via her distinctive and captivating global jazz aesthetic, listeners should know a little something of her personal musical journey. In the Philly native’s time in NYC, she sang Afro-Latino/Caribbean music with world beat group Mikata. After receiving her masters in education from the University of New Haven, the longtime arts and Spanish teacher hightailed it to Sarasota, FL, where participation in jam sessions catapulted her into becoming a respected vocalist on the South Florida jazz scene and festival circuit.

She received the “Maestro” award for her autobiographical show Finding Sassy and her tribute to Nina Simone in St. Pete was a sellout. The stylistically diverse 10-track collection is a musical manifestation of her belief – stated in her notes – that “There is a story and melody within every hue and motion of the waves and currents that carry us.” Carried along by her strong yet crystalline vocals, Carroll bares her soul through fresh arrangements of many classic water-related songs, from a sassy, easy swinging spin through “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” to a plucky, sparse duet with bassist Kenny Davis on “How Deep is the Ocean” and an intimate piano-vocal version of the mournful Argentine Spanish language classic “Alfonsina Y El Mar,” about the water based suicide of Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni.

She also adds freshness to the timeless spiritual “Wade in the Water” via Café’s exotic percussion, intoxicating backing vocals and an opening thought- provoking original poem. Perhaps not perfectly related to water but still an exciting part of Carroll’s global messaging and grooving is a buoyant, Brazilian-tinged swirl thought Patti Cathcart’s uplifting “Learning How To Fly,” the burning African fusion tune “Afro Blue” featuring background vocals and chants by Beatriz Hernandez and David Oquendo and a lush, spacious and atmospheric re-imagining of The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood.”

1 Comment

Synia Carroll
Synia Carroll
May 14

Jonathan, Thank you so much for taking the time to listen so astutuely to my music! I truly appreciate your insightful review! I am so impressed with your understanding of me as a performer and artist! The only thing I would add is the amazing work of John Di Martino. His production skill and sensibilities are singular and greatly contribute to the 'feel ' of the album! Again, Thank you!😊

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