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No return, no surrender



















Has world music, global soul as Tomas Doncker would have it, ever sounded better than on this astounding six song addendum to Power Of The Trinity, Power Of The Trinity… A Slight Return? Sharing only one song with the original music from the musical of the same name, it bests its namesake through trouble in the world Burnin’ style political rock and soul which gets a groove and jumps a groove over and over again.

Opening with “Brooklyn2Ethiopia” which echoes Michael Jackson echoing African soul to “Abet Gurage” which brings out Ethiopian superstar singer Mahmoud Ahmed, as well as the Jimi Hendrix of Ethiopia guitarist Selam Woldemerian and Ethiopian pop star Nhatty Man, for a West African hootenanny such a blast of fun everything swings from the rafters.

In between there are two songs with Bill Laswell and the ode to the charity Doncker is most closely related to (all proceeds from this EP went to it) New York/Addis Ababa-based NGO, The Studio Samuel Foundation’s 1Hundred Girls Impact Plan ( It is the sweetest song on the EP, a singalong of sorts with its roots in lovers rock; it even includes a reggaeton rap.

The sheer abundance of music is amazing, every song seems to have a 100 tracks, each of which shine and retreat as if the only way to get through to the end is by sharing and sharing and sharing. It is hard to pinpoint the apex of this album but “Peace (Hold ON)” has just about everything you could dream of in a song, spoken word, female vocalists, the full band, sax solo,  horns, the explosion of hope through sound and Doncker’s verbal gymnastics, they jump, they fight, they do what they claim they don’t want: raise a ruckus.

If you include Doncker’s Howling Wolf EP, and his work with Marla Mase and Kevin Jenkins (and others), this is a stupendously creative time for my good friend (he namechecked me on the back cover) and this EP is the crowning achievement: it is like one long hard groove into the heart of race politics and art. It reminds me of West’s Yeezus, in that both artists see through a prism of race and it reminds me of Lennon because bothartists see life in an optimistic vein. Tomas always sees a better tomorrow, he always sees a world where everything gets better through love and community and while he bristles in anger which his eleven piece band feeds off, in the end his answer is one voice, one love.

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