N'Namdi Bryant (The A Cappellian)
We Are One - Single (2019)
Review By Dan Fister
May 8, 2020
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N’Namdi Bryant, also known as The A Cappellian, delivers an impressive track with We Are One. Bryant shows off his remarkable range and clever arranging to create an entertaining single.
Bryant sings every voice part from low bass to high tenor and manages to capture each part’s timbre. The result is a finely-crafted sonic tapestry reminiscent of Bobby McFerrin but with the sumptuous blend and dense vocal harmony of Take 6; Bryant cites both musical groups as influences. Diego de Jesus from the Brazilian sextet Sambaranda provides vocal percussion that, together with the lower lines, forms the basis for the song’s groove. Bryant accentuates this sound in the upper parts with exciting funk guitar background lines and falsetto solos and harmonies.
Though We Are One is enjoyable and succeeds in making me move, the song lacks a clear form or temporal organization. There are many ways to construct a song, such as verses and choruses or improvising over a recurring refrain, usually accomplished through lyrics or a distinctive melody. Bryant chooses to take the listener on a journey with only the groove as a guide. While there are lyrics sung in various octaves, they rarely come to the front of the mix, which is instead dominated by the many other vocal lines. The aesthetic choice isn’t necessarily bad, but it prevents the track from having as much repeat listenability as it could.
Groovy and full of fun moments, We Are One demonstrates the potentially great product of a one-man a cappella band.