Witch Prophet: Tesfay
The adventurous sound of a fast-rising star is showcased on a cut featuring soulful vocals, free-flowing sax, and confident lyrics.
By Kerry Doole
Witch Prophet - (Heart Lake Records): On March 24, this Toronto-based Ethiopian/Eritrean/Canadian singer-songwriter released her second full-length solo album, D.N.A Activation. We can report that it is a simply stunning work, one we predict will grab international attention.
Her soulful voice has been utilised by Shad, on his 2013 Flying Colours album and by Polaris Prize winner Fucked Up, on that band's newest LP, 2018's Dose your Dreams, but her time to shine solo is now.
Witch Prophet's sound is impossible to pigeonhole, as she draws on jazz, R&B, hip-hop and more. The likes of Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu have been cited as reference points, but there's more going on here than a soul thang.
On an album devoid of lowlights, this track dramatically illuminates that. Free-flowing and expressive saxophone (from Karen Ng) and a trip-hoppy feel add a fresh new dimension to Witch Prophet's hybrid style, and her vocals float airily on top as she confidently sings "Top of my prime, My girls are all on my side."
Witch Prophet is also a member of feminist-based electro/grunge/dub-hop group Above Top Secret, further evidence of her unfettered musical sensibility. Joining her in that group and with stellar production work on D.N.A Activation is her professional and personal partner, SUN SUN.
Of note: Both Witch Prophet and SUN SUN are on the roster of High Priestess, the new Canadian music publisher launched by Kim Temple and Six Shooter.
She has toured Europe independently twice; playing shows in Paris, Amsterdam, London and Berlin, as well as performing at North American and European music festivals, including Black Women Rock, Manifesto, Pride Toronto, Soul Of Brooklyn, Montreal Jazz Festival, New Skool Rules, Sappy Fest, Electric Eclectic, Summerworks, Pop Montreal, CMW, NXNE, Halifax Pop Explosion and more
Her EPs H.P.B and Architect of Heartbreak Remixes came out in 2016 and 2017 respectively, and her full-length debut, The Golden Octave, came out on her own imprint. Heart Lake Records, in May 2018.