Saltwater Naomi DeBruyn - Editor, Linear Reflections: www.linearreflections.com Victoria, BC, Canada, 5 / 2002 E.V .
Djolé is pronounced "jo-lay" and it is the word which the Mandinka people of West Africa use to describe the joy of life. This is something that is captured in the music which this wonderfully explorative and innovative group perform. Djolé is comprised of Niel Golden, Joby Baker, Doug Galbraith, Scott Sheerin, Sara Marreiros, and Tobin Stokes. Also joining them for this disc are Michael Baron, Dean Samuel, Stephen Kent, Danuel Tate, and Enrique Rivas. Together they perform some musical magic, wandering through new territory with their "timeless sound interwoven with jazz influences." Each track draws forth something new and unique from the listener's perspective, as well. There are a number of diverse and unique instruments used on this disc, far too many to name here, however you could pretty well travel the world through their use. Sara adds a poignant haunting effect to a number of the tracks with her vocal twinings, and gives greater depth to the already enriching pieces. "Cadboro Bay" is a place which is very familiar to me. I spent many summers there as I was growing up, as it was only a mile or so from my home. The tidal flow is captured with the melody, and Sara's vocals carry you along like a refreshing ocean breeze. It is a track which I found to be both relaxing and invigorating. A light and jazzy refrain is found in "Sutukum," a traditional piece. The soprano saxophone takes center stage, the notes pouring forth from it dancing about and above the melody, with the beat being kept by a Moroccan frame drum. Add in a Fender Rhodes and you have a rather incongruous blend, but it is quite pleasing to both the ears and soul. The final track on this disc is "The Idea of Earth," an original Djolé composition. It incorporates a number of those world wide instruments I mentioned earlier, from the tabla to the didgeridoo, and is a rather playful piece incorporating all of the unique sounds which come from the instruments. What the mind thinks should emerge as no more than a cacophony, is in reality a beautiful piece. Djolé is a group who's music excites and explores new avenues of approach, blending the not so obvious with traditional arrangements. They are to be enjoyed, and listened to repeatedly.
Joby Baker (Bass, Drums, Synthesizer & Voice).
Doug Galbraith (Kora, Nylon String Guitar, Electric Guitar, Drums, Clave, Conga, Djembe & Sabar).
Niel Golden (Tabla, Doumbek, Tar, Tambourine, Woodblock & Shaker).
Sara Marreiros (Voice).
Scott Sheerin (Flute, Soprano Saxophone).
Tobin Stokes (Piano & Vibes).
Also featuring performance contributions by:
Michael Baron (Hand Drum & Shaker).
Stephen Kent (Didgeridoo, Click Stick & Shaker).
Enrique Rivas (Surdo & Cuica).
Dean Samuel (Mbira).
Daniel Tate (Electric Piano).
Toronto born Niel Golden is a talented percussionist specializing in the subtle yet powerful, tuned, paired, hand drums called tabla.
Niel played guitar as a teen, hauling it along on an overland trek from Europe to India in 1972.
Whetting his appetite for exotic music, he began his studies in world music and, upon his return to Canada, attended Toronto's York University.
While at York, he first studied mrdangam with Trichy Sankaran, and then tabla, with Bob Becker of the world renowned percussion ensemble, Nexus.
Niel received his honours B.A., specializing in ethnomusicology and soon after, became the disciple of the tabla master, Pandit Sharda Sahai, the fifth generation leader of the Benares style of playing.
Niel is a skillful and versatile performer, accompanying Indian classical music’s vocal, instrumental and dance styles and playing tabla solos.
In 1986 he became a resident of Victoria and, diving into the vibrant local music scene, he helped form New Earth. a world / folk fusion trio,
New Earth's self-titled CD took them to Spain, where they represented Canada for 6 weeks at Expo ’92 in Seville.
1993 saw the creation of Djolé.
Blending African, Indian, Western and other world music, Djolé's first CD, Indiscretion, earned them a Juno nomination for best global recording of 1995.
In both 1990 and 1995 Niel returned to India to further his tabla studies receiving a Shastri Indo-Canadian grant to do so.
He has also collaborated with many Canadian West Coast artists, including composer Robert Rosen, Kokoro dance, Joseph Pepe Danza, Celso Machado, Andre Thibault and Sal Ferreras, to name a few.
Working with composer Moshe Denburg for the past 12 years, he is a member of Moshe’s Inter-Cultural Orchestra, having performed as part of the 2000 & 2001 West Coast Sacred Music festival finales.
Niel is currently a member of two Victoria bands.
Djolé has been revived with some new members and direction.
Niel is also part of the eclectic musical melange known as Mandolirium.