Tag Archives: Grenadilla

Grenadilla, "Can't Wait"

CD Review: Grenadilla, “Can’t Wait”

Grenadilla, "Can't Wait"

Like any good parent, I’ve taken thousands of snapshots of my kids, but there’s one particular picture of my daughter that always makes me smile. It captures her mid-swing on the playground, head tilted back toward the sun, with a look of absolute, unbridled, carefree joy on her face. For me, that look represents the perfect grace of the childlike spirit: the ability to uncouple from whatever worries are weighing us down and simply be happy. It’s also the best way I know how to describe Grenadilla’s music — I mean, these songs just sound like giddy motion, warm sunlight, and laughter.

Of course, when your band makes liberal use of the pennywhistle — and has been gifted with a frontwoman whose voice is as carefree-sounding as Debbie Lan’s — you’re going to make happy-sounding songs even if you’re trying to be emo. But that doesn’t take away from the addictive pleasure of Grenadilla’s music, including its newly released second album, Can’t Wait.

Produced by Dog on Fleas member (and longtime Dadnabbit hero) Dean Jones, Can’t Wait fleshes out the Grenadilla sound without tinkering with anything too much — the album adds a few new colors to the band’s sonic palette, but they’re relatively subtle; a horn section here, handclaps there. That sort of thing. The most crucial ingredients — the band’s lovely harmonies and the Capetown flavors in Lan’s arrangements — remain front and center.

Can’t Wait also delivers another solid, sprightly set of songs — 14 tracks, weighing in at a breezy 30 minutes and change, with titles like “Exactly Where I Want to Be,” “Oh Sing a Song to the Sun,” “Smiling,” and “Sunday Afternoon.” Doesn’t just reading those make you a little happier? Listening to them will finish the job.

Can’t Wait is available now from your favorite digital retailer. Listen to samples at Amazon and order your copy today.

A Conversation with Debbie Lan of Grenadilla

As you’re no doubt aware if you’ve been visiting Dadnabbit for any length of time, I’m a huge fan of Dean Jones and Dog on Fleas — but since I’m something of a late convert to their music, it wasn’t until late last year that I discovered the band’s ranks once included Debbie Lan, whose dulcet tones now front the Capetown rhythms of kindie’s first kwela-based group, Grenadilla.

What’s kwela, you ask? Well, if you’ve ever listened to Paul Simon’s Graceland, you’ve got something like an idea — it’s South African music, full of memorable melodies, joyous harmonies, and the sunny sound of the pennywhistle. I haven’t been able to stop listening to Grenadilla’s debut for months (as I told Debbie during our chat, the only thing I don’t like about her music is that there isn’t more of it), and I thought it was high time we talked. If you haven’t heard Grenadilla yet, you’re in for a treat; visit their site for samples from the album, a link to a live NPR performance, and more.

Grenadilla’s album never leaves heavy rotation in my house, and I don’t think enough people have listened to it. Let’s talk about what you’re doing with the group.

These are songs that were just…in my head for awhile. They just sort of popped out at the right time, I guess. I don’t really know how else to describe it. I mean, I always wanted to have something where I was singing with a group of women, and after I left Dog on Fleas, it seemed like a natural progression. Continue reading