“At the end of guitarist and singer-songwriter Natu Camara’s setlist at Berkeley’s big house — Zellerbach Hall — the native Guinean transported the audience to her childhood and Tchadil, her grandmother’s tiny village. In the village there is no electricity, but the moon at night shines so brightly that a needle on the floor can be seen. Children gather in a circle and begin clapping. Soon, kids all over the village hear the rhythms and hurry to join, swelling the circle to 20 or 30 villagers. A single child moves into the circle’s center. Solo dances, accompanied by hands clapping and soulful songs, unify and uplift the community.
After Natu experienced devastating loss losing her husband to pancreatic cancer. Alone in New York with little English she fought her way back to music.
She picked up the guitar — inspired by a songbird at her window and a woman with a Life Alert chain she encountered in Central Park. Natu quit her job, started jumping onstage at small venues in Harlem, began writing music again. That led Natu to the fourteen songs she is performing on an international tour; from her new album. Natu is now performing music from her debut solo record, Dimedi (Child), she blends Afro-rock, pop, and soul, sung in multiple languages including English, French and Soussou. The memory of her grandmother’s village emerged in “Ka Hirde,” a soul-rock song that had people clapping, dancing and jumping. “Back in the days of my grandmother, they used to say it’s a healing song. After singing it, no matter how they felt, they feel better. I feel it every time I perform it, so it must be true.Indeed the song’s combination of looped rhythm and lyricism is mesmerizing. It’s music in which to get lost and not want to be “found.”
Other songs on the set list speak to social and political issues, reflecting the
advocacy and music she admires in mentors: Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Fela Kuti, Baaba Maal, and others.”