Contributed and Written by Lasana Akachi
Within the cavernous maw of the Foyer of the United States post office museum on Thursday April 11, 2019 comes melodic sounds that have the hint of coming from another time and place. When we hear these vibrations they take us to spaces where all is comfort, peace, and the gentle beginnings of love. The melodies heard are the gift of Mr. Saleem Waters on his electronic lyricon accompanied by his band Mystikal Waters.
The concert started out with Mr. Waters solo rendition of a freeform tune of his creation guaranteed to bring you to the expressions of peace, joy, and musical appreciation he is seeking to guide us toward. The easy airy grace of his seemingly magical lyricon transports you to a sensory Nirvana and beckons you to stay awhile. Once in this state of heightened musical appreciation, he moves us to the John Coltrane inspired tune, derived from show tunes of Rodgers/ Hammerstein “My Favorite Things” with Saleem and Mystical waters own interpretation of the now classic jazz tune. The band’s interpretation of the standard is a worthy compliment to the spirit of re-invention and transformation of that song that Coltrane pioneered decades ago. From there we go to a musical interlude with the poet Maya using her words and graceful presence as a bridge from one section of songs to the next giving us time to fully marinate and absorb the depth and beauty of the music that came just instants before. In that process of bridge building between songs, Maya introduces us to Cecily who at the very least is a musical prodigy.
Cecily is a young woman who is around 21 years of age who has a voice and vocal talents that can only be aptly described as “god-blessed”. Her Jazzification of the Denise Williams produced R&B song called “Free” is stunning and a chilling testament to Cecily’s powers of vocalese. Her intonation and interpretation of the song is impeccable, coupled with her phrasing, jazz-tinged inflections and timing
makes the Williams song “FREE” her anthem. That Anthem is every bit a tribute to the person (Denise Williams) who made the song famous in the first place with her considerable vocal range and clear solid voice, which Cecily EQUALs; to her loving vocal and tonal inflections which turns the song into a Jazz masterpiece. In an age where we have Pop Tarts masquerading as serious musicians and vocalists, with meager talents and mediocre presentations, it is an honor and privilege to witness someone like Cecily bringing the goods to that makes hearing her a joyful and spiritual experience. In evidence is the Work,
craft, and Talent that makes seeing Cecily an enriching and gratifying musical odyssey. She is one to watch on the Rise.
Mystikal Waters also boasts some awesome sidemen on Bass, piano, and drums. Kehendra on keyboards and trumpet added to the virtual effect of musically induced Eden that was present during the entire show. The bass player kept the beat going ensuring continuity of purpose, while the drum was the constant heartbeat of the entire session. Saleem Waters has assembled an ensemble that validates his musical vision which has evolved and gestated over the years into its current manifestation of Mystikal Waters.
If you are looking for a new fresh sound, that is rooted in solid traditions and good musical craft it is in your best interests to check out Mystikal Waters with its visionary leader Saleem Waters for an exciting excursion into music that will transverse dimensions that too many of us have not heard or experienced in a very long time.