KAE SUN at the Rivoli, Thursday, October 10. Rating: NNN
People try to categorize Kae Sun's music a lot. His latest album, Afriyie, has elements of folk, R&B, reggae, soul and pop. Sometimes he gets tagged "urban-folk" or "neo-folk" or "folk-soul." Or something.
Thursday night at the Rivoli, backed by a five-piece band and two laptops, the genial Ghanaian-Canadian singer produced a variety of sounds wonderfully difficult to pin down.
With so many people on a small stage, at first the band seemed to dwarf him (and drown out his vocals). But by song two, Sun was in command - loud and clear on the upbeat Heart Healing Pulse and for the rest of the set, sounding like a vocal hybrid of Ziggy Marley and Ben Harper.
The band came alive on Ship And The Globe, a tune with a singalong chorus and grabby bass line that almost took on a grunge quality.
Nothing could top Blackstar Rising, though, an achingly pretty song Bob Marley-an in its music and message. As far as genres go, Sun eventually clarified it for us: "It's music. Pure and simple."