Karolina x Jenny Penkin – Ready For Juju

“The track is filled to the edges in a sunny mood and a beautiful female vocal that will not leave you even after this track ends. The atmosphere of Neo-Soul and Jazz, a deep and pleasant rhythm and light, which blinds and burns its listener.” (Automatically Translated with Google Translate)

“Трек наполнен до краёв солнечным настроением и красивым женским вокалом, которое не покинет вас даже после того, как этот трек закончится. Атмосфера Neo-Soul и Jazz, глубокий и приятный ритм и свет, который ослепляет и обжигает своего слушателя.”



“Ready For Juju feat. Jenny Penkin” (out Thursday 8th September) is the Tru Thoughts debut from renowned songwriter and vocalist, Karolina (pronounced Carol-een-a). The track is taken from ‘All Rivers’ (out 18th November); a thoughtful blend of Jazz, Afrobeat and Soul and the songstress’s first solo English-speaking release. The LP is a journey through the space between daydream, fantasy and reality and the emotions that dictate us. It follows Karolina’s solo albums and her releases as part of trio, Habanot Nechama. More recently, she has worked with musician, composer, producer, and animator Kutiman and composer, arranger, and producer Adrian Younge on his collaborative projects with A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

This enthusiasm for organic creation and collaboration shines through on “Ready For Juju feat. Jenny Penkin”. Having seen Jenny Penkin perform live, Karolina invited her to the studio, wanting to collaborate with another woman about shared experiences of endless touring and performing live. “Whether in your 20s or nearly 50, we found we wanted the same thing… After a show we want to come home, wear comfortable clothes, not speak to anyone, and lie down forever”. The track takes its name from the impatience felt by Karolina and Jenny when they had done their part for the track but were still waiting for producer Rejoicer – AKA Juju – to do his part to complete it. Creating what turned out to be a love song to home comforts and alone time, the pair celebrate female solidarity and familiarity, regardless of age; “we had so much fun! We have a nice connection”.

The album, alongside title track “All Rivers”, take its name from the universal concept appearing across many religions and cultures that “all rivers flow to the sea”, with an added poetic twist. Inspired by the writings of Avoth Yeshurun while working on the album, Karolina became fascinated with the concept that in actuality, “all the rivers go back to the rivers” and that this is the secret to missing people. “I was struck by the idea that water goes missing from the rivers before going back to the rivers. All of this album is that cycle of going back and forth into the waves of emotion.” Karolina explains, “the rhythms are the sounds of people wading through the water. They’re carrying all their emotions and it’s heavy”.

On the title track, Karolina expresses these almost paradoxical feelings with riddle-like lyrics and trumpet from multi-instrumentalist and composer Avishai Cohen; “I felt he was truly connected and understood the song exactly as it was written in my heart”. The pair unite again on album opener “Boots”, inviting us into the ‘All Rivers’ swirling landscape of twists and turns. Working with Rejoicer on production across ‘All Rivers’, further musical collaborative offerings come from Amir Bresler, Eyal Talmudi and Nitai Hershkovits.

As well as the releases under her own name, and projects with Funset and Habanot Nechama, Karolina has worked with a multitude of musicians. A prolific live performer, Karolina has opened for The Black Eyed Peas, Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill and performed alongside Ziggy Marley. Her critically acclaimed collaborations with Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad have received further exposure, appearing in the Netflix series ‘When They See Us’ and ‘Luke Cage’. Closer to home, she has collaborated with Soulico, Kutiman and DJ Sabbo. Utilising his skills as an animator, Karolina worked with Kutiman to create a music video for her single “Smile 2 Me”, which was placed on display at Hammer Museum in Los Angeles for the Flux Screening Series. Karolina’s international sound and heartfelt lyrics continue to have a wide reach and draw an eclectic audience, both for her recorded releases and live performances.

Reviewed by Nagamag on September 15, 2022