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World Music CD Reviews Africa

Francis Jocky

By Phil Freeman
Published March 20, 2007

Mr. Pain
Koko

CAMEROON

Francis Jocky isn’t as well known as he probably should be. He’s collaborated with Jon Anderson of Yes – the two formed a band called Know and released an under-publicized CD, The More You Know, on Eagle Rock in 1998 – and performed live with Stevie Wonder. And somewhere between those two poles of soul and progressive rock, with the pulsing rhythms of his native Cameroon, is where his first solo album falls. Jocky is a sort of postmodern soul man, dipping into any sound that appeals to him, no matter what part of the world it comes from, and the resultant blend is both melodic and grooving, with hooks to please almost any ear. Song titles like “Higher Love” and “Song Of Freedom” give the game away – he’s not necessarily trying to shatter musical boundaries as much as demonstrate the myriad ways one can create an upbeat, thoughtful pop-soul song suite.