When the term “world music” crept into the public consciousness it tended to be the domain of a certain type of guy (and it generally was a guy). One who would use the fact that you hadn’t heard of a certain Moroccan hip-hop/jazz fusion band or his new favourite Mongolian Tuvan choir, to play his favourite game of one-upmanship with you. Well, we quickly saw through him and soon realised that there is no such thing as “world music” there is just the world and music.
But if you were going to invent such a thing as world music from scratch then Holly Holden would fit right into such a genre. The antithesis of the aforementioned cultural bore collecting music like rare stamps, Holly is instead a troubadour in the perfect sense, a wander through musical worlds and physical places and it is her adventures in Latin America and The Caribbean which have informed the aptly named Tropical Soul.
Reggae, salsa, bolero and other Latin cornerstones blend effortlessly with soul, pop and R’n’B vibes and even language becomes a fluid element as English and Spanish become blended and interchangeable. And all this creates a truly world sound, one not quite belonging to any one place but fitting effortlessly in many. Musical Esperanto if you will.
Pop fans will love the accessibility, Latin aficionados will love the sensual grooves, beach bums will love how it reminds them of sun soaked tropical memories and everyone else will just marvel at how infectious, euphoric and optimistic the songs are, even when dealing with more wistful and reflective issues.
With a full album to follow, this e.p. really is a great calling card for what should amount to a very productive year and if groovesome, bi-lingual sultry, sunshine, tropical pop happens to become the musical fashion statement of 2017, and it very well might, remember where you heard it first.