Earlier this month, Erykah Badu was invited to bask in the adoration of classical composer Mihalj "Miki" Kekenj, and French-trained German artist Jaybo at Berlin's famed MADE space. With Miki's somewhat more traditional take and Jaybo's more street-leaning style (from the streetwear line to the rap-group history, I'm not going to question his commitment to Sparkle Motion) they make for an interesting troika. Inasmuch as a troika can include a string quintet.
After the bounce
Against the backdrop of "Society Machine," Jaybo's '70s-psychedelic yet thoroughly contemporary tribute to E. Badu's body of work, the lady of the hour croons backed by Miki's String Quartet, looking like the flyest version of the Wicked Witch of the West you ever did see.
Their rendition of "On & On," sounds less classical than jazz, with Badu sounding more like Billie Holiday than I've ever heard (a silly comparison that has dogged her since her 1997 debut, Baduizm). "The Healer," on the other hand, is decidedly more traditional in sound, completely stripped of the stomp that helped define the original version of the song.
As always, Badu sounds clear as a bell as she leaps and skips nimbly across the delicate strings like a fly dancing on water. The interview footage closes with Badu, smiling as she gushes to the camera, "I needed this."
I don't know about her, but I sure did.