GINO SITSON: Bamisphere

Label: Polyvocal
Distribution in Scandinavia: Rootsy-Playground


Genre: Vocal magic


This is a voice that knows no limits, when it comes to bass, treble, genres or expression. His vocal range extends four octaves, and it is almost hard to believe that all the voices that we hear belong to him. Of course he could be compared to Bobby McFerrin, somehow they could be classified in the same musical genre. But the world is actually big enough for both of them, and there is really nothing on this record that I have ever heard before!

Sitson lives in his own musical landscape, and as an African who has moved to New York via Paris he has actually made a trip in the opposite direction, compared to McFerrin. His native country Cameroon is full of vocal traditions, and these are very evident in his compositions. This would have been strong and interesting enough, even if the whole record would have been a capella, as the first track – but a jazz comp in absolute world class is of course no disadvantage. How about Ron Carter, Jeff "Tain" Watts and pianist Helio Alves?

His virtuosity is no aim in itself but the versatility of this expressive voice is often amazing, no matter if he uses his falsetto, his dark bass voice or does vocal percussion. He also sings polyvocally – please don’t ask me how! And the record in general is a very clear evidence of how related bebop and African music really are.


Annika Westman

Review published in Lira Music Magazine, Sweden, April 2006 ( )