Album in Focus: EVERGREEN EP by Charisse C

DJ, producer, singer and songwriter. Charisse C is a curious soul musically. Not only in the many heads she wears technically but in the sounds she explores. Charisse C’s sets on Boiler Room, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, BBC 1Xtra, NTS, Rinse FM and No Signal, have been a body of work that represents a bridge across continents. Something her early life made her the perfect focal point for.

Charisse C

Born in Zimbabwe, and having both Zimbabwean and South African heritage, Charisse C was also raised in the UK. Southern African rhythms have always been a quality of sets, even before she started creating her own music. Delivering Boiler Room sets in locations like London, Ibiza and Marseille, the DJ sits right at Amapiano's last frontier before global dominance, the European club scene. 

A few months ago Charisse C released a collaborative EP with Koek Sista, as the duo The Ascension. While the influence of Amapiano was a constant, the DJ's latest work strikes quite a different tone.

EVERGREEN album artwork 

EVERGREEN, comes as Charisse C's debut EP and the 4 track project sees the DJ exploring her voice and speaking with what I would describe as defiance. The EP is a marriage of multiple continents on a sonic wavelength. Amapiano and other elements of African House are brought together with EDM and Popular sounds, making EVERGREEN a love letter to the dance floor. Yet the EP is equally companionable blaring through headphones with no one around. 

Charisse C collaborates with DJ Kwanzy, Shingai, Captain Lulaz, Shazmicsoul and Small Keys. The project has the sound of percussion as an ever present feature, and you can't help but experience the feeling of hope when you listen to this debut offering. 

Angisafuni kicks things off and it speaks of the desire to feel a love so pure you don't doubt it. The track has soulful vocals and a titillating rhythm that is characteristic of Amapiano's popular sound yet covered in a sheen of Electronic Music.

The music is easy on the ear and it goes from sensual to emotional in moments. The subject of love is the main theme and it is expressed in not only the lyrics but sounds.

Morning Sun is dominated by the sound of drums and it is a delicate balance of alchemy as the sounds of Pop, Amapiano, Gqom, and EDM are given a healthy sprinkling of Charisse C's saccharine vocals. It is a sonic tale of sunkissed melodies, meeting moonlit rhythms. What I Need carries the sound of hosho and it feels equal parts slick and thunderous. It is a song about longing, and it has something about it that draws the body to motion. You can almost feel the strings coming from Charisse C's marionettes cross.

While other tracks contain a certain poignancy, Nguva Yangu is the truly emotional track on this EP. It has a fervent tempo that is soothed by the vocals and while pushing you to reflection, it has a certain pull to euphoria.

EVERGREEN feels exactly that, a project ever alive with emotions and rhythms for a continent finally finding it's voice globally. The project has it's certain rough edges, which may only exist due to my own personal biases. My experiences of both Amapiano and EDM, are shaped by a Zimbabwean lens. What I may see as a sharp corner may actually be an intentional point of inflection that resonates with an international audience.

However I definitely feel EVERGREEN could've done with at least a few more songs. 

Greedysouth rating: 7.1/10

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