Simply Beautiful Folk

Divide & Conquer (Supply & Demand Music)

By Ronke Oyekunle

Vandaveer's folk music album Divide & Conquer has a clear theme of a person's life journey. The message(s) of each song keep the listener enthralled all while the instrumentation plays cleanly and flows beautifully with the words.

Interestingly, Divide & Conquer references several concepts and cultural literatures such as good versus evil, the Hebrew Bible, and Greek tragedies. The album begins with "Fistful of Swoon" that has a message so deep I found it hard to understand, but still enjoyed nonetheless.

Next, "Resurrection Mary" intertwines spirituality with romantic love. "A Mighty Leviathan of Old" has a lyrical style like that of Yoruba music (with the story based lesson) and a musical essence of Gaelic folk music. The album steadily climbs and climbs with artistic literature depth as it moves to "Wool Gathering" that references the Odyssey with "I will steer my ship home with sirens you tempt us." Not only is the music pleasant and the lyrics complex, but the titles of each song command attention and open the listener to what Vandaveer's message may be.

For instance, there's "Turpentine," a song that speaks about hard-learned lessons like "when you dance with the devil, you don't walk scot-free." Indeed, that phrase may be open to interpretation. "Turpentine" also sings about one's sense of being lost, of not having a home, but at the same time having a purpose, "damned to lead, but born to meander."

Coming close to the end is "Before the Great War" that has three short stories, but all have one common theme that each main character "was going to be somebody new." I would write more about the remaining songs, but it would be more worthwhile to pick up a copy listen to and draw your own special meaning from such an involved and full of depth album—"I won't fear the night when it's black as day." Simply beautiful.

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