KFJC 89.7FM
Album Review

Robinson, Wanda – “Black Ivory ” – [Breathless Records]

Thurston Hunger   2/8/2007   CD, Soul

Every month is Black HerStory month at KFJC when it comes to Wanda
Robinson…but honestly this album strikes me as more about the
nakedness of people rather than the color of their skin when they
achieve such nakedness. In particular, Wanda likes that moment of
epiphany when a mirror is held up or when a reflection of one’s self is
captured in the pupils of another; illusions stripped away, pooled at
your feet like castoff vestments and vexments. She’ll start one poem
with “suddenly, i saw me” and another she’ll devote to the collapse of
a fated relationship as in “The Final Hour.” An unflinching frankness
fills in the spaces between her lines, and that includes her 1971
take on sex, which can be brutal or arousing, but ultimately just another
one of the things that seems to get in the way of people trying to
connect. “Parting Is Such” is a pretty take on the lack of give-and-take
of love, underscored by some killer swinging stings. The music on here
covers a lot of turf, blues on the corner, subway sax, funk in the alley,
a blacker shade of pale on “Tragedy No. 456” but its Wanda’s voice that
rises up over it all like the moon. Loose, lucid and guileless, she
possess a different kind of power than one might want to ascribe to her.
Check out her liner autobio for a flavor of that, and multiply it by
her gentle but never weak voice. Thirty six years later she goes by Laini
Mataka, but here’s to you and yesteryear, Ms. Robinson.

-Thurston Hunger

Check out this article on Wanda/Laini from last year…
http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/arts/2006/artcov0714.html?navCenterBot

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