Hartford, CT’s Jelani Sei occupies an interesting and cathartic space between punk and jazz, self described as progressive R&B and future soul. With their new single “Rep. Maxine Waters”, they speak power to the struggles of minorities in Trump’s America through emotionally charged musicianship and effusive, poetic lyrics.
With strikingly relatable lyrics like “I can see all evil / Walking in yo people” they translate the emotions associated with everyday life for minorities in our ugly political climate, in a way that’s refreshingly honest and validating. I can appreciate that they’re not afraid to go there in terms of the music or the lyrics. The band lets the musicianship shine, switching up the tempo, rhythm and melody without being uptight or messy or confusing.
The balance of Kayana Guity and Evan Lawrence’s vocals is unexpected but still really gratifying. The track also features some really dreamy sax, visceral but still tasteful drums, and a perfect balance between the guitars.
Listen to “Rep. Maxine Waters” down below and catch Jelani Sei with Sorority Noise and Remo Drive at First Unitarian Church on April 6th. More details on that show here.
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