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Cecile Doo-KingueCecile Doo-Kingue
Album: Anybody Listening Pt. 2: Dialogues
Label: cdk
Tracks: 12

With an exceptional stage presence, guitarist/singer-songwriter Cécile Doo-Kingué blends blues, afro-roots and soul to create a unique sound.

She was born and raised in New York City, first generation from Cameroon, she has lived in America and France, and is now based in Montreal, Canada.

She is considered one of Canada's most electrifying and versatile guitarists, busting onto the scene in 2010 with her debut album Freedom Calling.

Gris was released in 2012 to critical acclaim. Last year she released the first in a trilogy of albums - Anybody Listening Pt. 1: Monologues. Now we have Anybody Listening Pt. 2: Dialogues - her fourth album which covers a wide spectrum of music from blues to jazz, and from rock to rock 'n' roll.

Cecile comes storming out of the traps with the up tempo Riot and Revolution. With its heavy distorted slide guitar it sets the scene beautifully.

Sweet Talkin' Devil has a heavy backbeat but the vocals lift it out of the mundane and it rocks along very nicely.

The tempo begins to slow a little with Anybody Listening, which allows Cecile to show how she can sing. Her voice is warm and melodious. The sentiments of the song are every musician's mantra: "Is anybody listening, does anyone care?"

Well I for one enjoyed listening to this album. There's plenty to enjoy. Little Bit shows another side to Cecile, a funky shuffle that swings along.

Throughout there's plenty of tasty guitar to keep most people happy.

Six Letters is another departure, this time featuring mostly acoustic instruments, with a powerful message. It is beautiful crafted song with excellent backing vocals.

There's so much variety to be found here. Thankful is another largely acoustic outing with a great burst of electric guitar to lift the song up a considerable notch.

Pure Entertainment swings along very smoothly. Animal Kingdom has a more up tempo feel but it also swings along in a minor key and features contributions from Kim Richardson and Alan Prater.

The intriguingly-named Bloodstained Vodka is another return to the acoustic format - this time following a more typical bluesy format. But there is some fine guitar to accompany the strong vocal performances.

Faith sees a return to the overdriven electric guitar but the quality is maintained - Cecile's vocals shine through.

Sunshine Lady is driven along by some great percussion from Malika Tirolien. I liked this a lot, with its intoxicating mix of tasty guitar and great vocals, it kind of encapsulated the entire album. Excellent.

The album is completed by Cecile's take on Jimi Hendrix's Manic Depression. Her droll vocals perfectly captures the mood and once again the song features excellent drumming and bass, as well as superb guitar. It is a tour de force and easily earns its place on this great album.

Is anybody listening? Well I am for sure!

John Knighton