Maimouna Youssef delves deep into soul music with her recently posted cover of “A Song for You.” Though not originally recorded by the late, great Donny Hathaway, his take on the ballad is by far the most memorable and perhaps the most inspirational. It’s definitively Donny and since Youssef — aka Mumu Fresh — specified it was his rendition she was paying homage to, listeners will surely have high expectations on her delivery in this live version of the classic.
Maimouna pays attention to the pivotal pauses, letting each lyric hover before slowly being absorbed by an audience hanging on to each word. She emotes the yearning present in “A Song for You” and makes her listeners experience that same desire. Punctuating that is the soft, whisper-like approaches to various lines within the verses, where it feels as though she’s cradling the refrains. Conversely, she’s not afraid to take what’s being said to higher octaves, at times belting the intimate gift of love that comes in the form of a song.
It’s a bold choice to cover “A Song for You,” as Donny Hathaway’s signature is all over it, but Maimouna Youssef has presented a fine tribute.