The warmly circuitous sound of Vovete has been looping through my consistently played records for the last few weeks. Their debut album, “Providence”, features elements of folk and world music intermixed casually and cleanly with rock and electronic sounds, creating a seamless blend into that is simultaneously unique and familiar. The New York-based duo, composed of Daniel da Silva and Rui Guerreiro, cite the album as an expression of their love for songs that remind them of “hymns, myths, lullabies and folk dances,” and these somewhat obscure influences are definitely prevalent in this tapestry of an album.
The use of tribal sounding drums, sweetly repeating piano, and hazy vocals always flanked with harmonies, sets this album apart as one with a seriously innovative sound. Incorporating electronic sounds and psychedelic pieces in the midst of the old-world folk vibe throughout the album adds depth and clarity to a genre that can be overdone.
My personal favorite, album closer ‘A Prayer For Good Voyage’, does have an ancient feel to it as the lyrical chant begs “Promise to keep / me in your sight / long after I’ve / gone off into dark night”. This line serves as an anchoring motif in the song as other vocal riffs, bouncing drums, claps and percussion instruments all join the single voice to create a cacophony of sound.
‘Va La’ is another highlight; differing greatly from ‘A Prayer For Good Voyage’ in pace and tone, this smoothed out, languid track is slow but never sleepy, as intricate piano work and da Silva’s floated vocals are spell-binding. ‘Stay Awhile’ is somewhere between the two, building in layers on the simple phrase “stay awhile” with a haunting simplicity that laps at the ear.
In many of the tracks, there are no vocals, or the instrumental parts are highlighted much more than the voice, creating a listening experience that is derivative of a lullaby or a folk song, in which the actual words matter much less than the feelings evoked by the sound of the melody and its accoutrements. Album opener ‘Carry Me Over Water Over Time’ is a song that falls into this category, washing over the listener with the same natural serenity as running water or the wind in the trees.
On a visual note, how stunning is the artwork for the album cover? It was done by Australian photographer Marion Wilson. Certainly a band to keep an eye on, you can stream a selection of songs from their album below.