Print this Page

World Music CD Reviews North American

Kwanza Jones

By Robert Kaye
Published March 16, 2007

Naked 2: Universal Fire
Innovation 1919

Singer/songwriter and ingénue Kwanza Jones’ new third album Naked 2: Universal Fire was inspired by her personal trek up the treacherous slopes to the 19,340-foot summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania. Tenacious and talented, that she is unquestioningly. Surrounding herself with able musicians, that she has certainly done. But here’s where splitting hairs with a machete comes in. This is not, in any rightful sense of the word, a world music album; not even close. Call it a pop record frosted with elements of world music. Maybe. But even that is stretching things a bit. So this CD—and, let’s face it, many others like it—begs the question: quality aside, at what point should an album or artist be legitimately classified in the world music genre? Does the inclusion of a few international grooves, sounds or textures a true world music album make? Methinks not.