If I have aural sex with Sami Grisafe anymore, I am going to have to declare myself polyamorous. With the dropping of Atlantis, Sami, Jaclyn Rada and Shannon Nicole have created what few artists seem to be able to capture now-a-days—real, genuine music. The album transcends common notions of genre and niche, bopping along from soul-wrenching lyrical numbers to upbeat-you-must-shake-your-rump-and-clap-your-hands reggae infused pop. There is an almost ethereal blend of country, blues, pop, rock and rhythm infused throughout this amazing piece of art. In part due to such brilliant collaborations with some superbly talented folks, both in front of the mics and behind (Jaclyn Rada, Shannon Nicole, Sugar Blue, Evan Ryan, Brother John Kattke, and Ricco Lumpkins to name a few), the combination of fresh angles with old school experience has created what can only be described as a musical aurgasm. I have no idea if all of the tracks are biopic, but I don’t care. The fact is, I believe her. Every smile, every tear, is performed to perfection. She is a ukulele playing, foot stomping, vocal powerhouse.
Those of you who have had the pleasure of seeing Sami perform on stage will understand when I say that I was delightfully surprised that the recorded versions of her songs were just as emotionally connected as she is in person. Sami singing live is a force unto itself, but the raw energy artists possess on stage does not always translate once pushed through my tiny ear buds. I should have known better. This album still captures the funk and fun of The Wick on Wax, with the addition of some seriously heavy emotional roller coasters; from the heartbreak of ‘When I Think of You’, to the sex on a platter crooning of ‘Slow’. The aching, wrenching of her line “she moved inside of me…in my mind and under my skin” slowly builds until it’s belted, with that tell-tale rasp in her voice, and Sami has you: hook, line, and sinker.
Atlantis is a breath of fresh air in this over-produced, dance-pop music trend time period. The collaboration of Rada, Nicole and Grisafe simply works wonders. Want a summer anthem? Open your windows, blast your speakers, and sing along to ‘Hooky (in Chicago)’. Better yet, do it on a Tuesday and call off work. For a girl who isn’t from our fair town, she captures our ethos perfectly. On behalf of my fellow Chicagoans, I officially adopt you.
The gist is this: I love this album. I’m not an easy sell on most things in life, but the first instant you push play you will understand. This is a serious contender for my favorite album this whole year and it’s only May!!! A lot of blood, sweat, tears, and time went into the birth of this project – but oh my gods is the end worth the wait. This isn’t just about supporting our community (but yes, Sami is an unabashed member). It’s about supporting talent; raw, guttural, the stuff dreams are made of and the sound your heart yearns for kind of talent. So do your part, so Sami can continue doing hers. Get the album, download some tracks, do whatever you need to do to get on this bandwagon. Join my polyamorous cult. You’ll thank me. Your girlfriend will thank me, too.
For more information, or to hear streaming samples of her songs, visit www.samigrisafe.com
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About Leah Schein
Leah is a born and bred Chicagoan, and considers herself extremely fortunate to be raised by amazing liberal parents in Logan Square. Coming from a long family history of equality activism, the crazy world of politics feels like home to her. Her upbringing allowed her to fully appreciate her love of tacos, and provided the support needed to be independent and insane. She is a happy survivor of the public school system, all the way through her undergrad years, culminating with a BA in anthropology. Her love of travel and all things adventurous led to the pursuit of a Master of Science from sunny ol’ England, where she happily grasped a conservation degree and ran off to live in a number of rain forests to research nocturnal primates. Through the amazing diversity she was fortunate to be raised amongst, she has an unwavering appreciation of all cultures and peoples, and has used this to form the foundation of her outspoken support of civil rights. You may have seen her running around Boystown/Tuna town over the last decade, or at events she volunteers at for the Human Rights Campaign. It’s possible you spied her at the Silent Film Festival. That strange woman getting into a wrestling match in the leaves on Foster Ave beach at 3am…that definitely wasn’t her. She couldn’t be more excited about sharing her love of science, and it’s role in our daily lives, with the community she loves. Nerds are cool, people. They drink martini’s too.