With so much good music pouring out of Sweden, Denmark and Finland lately it feels like it’s been a while since we introduced a new Norwegian artist, now singer Monica Ifejilika certainly makes up for the absence.
For nearly 15 years Monica Ifejilika has been part of Queendom, an artist collective who presents a conscious message and energetic music through Afropean eyes.
Released on 31 October 2014, on the DaWorks label, was the singer-songwriters’ first solo project.
‘Keep it Solid’ is an 11-track album and opens up with a simply mesmerising track Ife-Ji-li-Ka, which is Monica’s surname. Soulful and catchy, it’s an irresistible opening.
Now you’re onboard, Monica takes you on a soulful journey without scary twists and turns. Monica doesn’t re-invent the wheel-of-soul, instead, she produces a wonderfully accessible and consistent sound with soulful vocals emanating blues and soul influences.
Stand out tracks are Ife-Ji-li-Ka, Slow Down (with it’s warm and string lead vibe), Tomfoolery, and Fall All Over Again.
Prepare to truly unwind with the track Pretender (feat. Håkon Rasmussen). This soulful romantic duet compares with any soul track you’ll hear from the US. These are just my choices but you’ll never need to use the forward button.
The album wraps up with ‘Camilla, Joan, Simone’ and as digital media misses an important part of music – artist notes, I was intrigued to know more about the song’s origins.
‘Camilla, Joan, Simone” is actually a feminist song’ Monica tells me ‘ – a tribute to the writer, and Norway’s first feminist, the quiet storm – Camilla Collett, the warrior Joan d’Arc and the intellectual, feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir. All three fought the good fight in their unique way. My song is about appreciating the shoulders upon which I stand and how I move forward – as a quiet storm, as a warrior, and with an educated mind – AND it’s about how we have to stay relevant in our issues, making sure the next generations stay mindful and aware.’
Conscious lyrics delivered with Monica’s engaging vocals simply wrap up another delightful soulful composition.
This album proves it’s never too late to discover sumptuous soul from Scandinavia, however, I do wish we’d found Monica’s debut release last year. It would have easily been nominated in the ‘Album of the Year’ category.
‘Keep it Solid’ really is as described – Solid. Solid Soul.
This album proves it’s never too late to discover sumptuous soul from Scandinavia