For Ndegeocello, Bass Is 'Foundation and Groove'

From 'Dance of the Infidel'

Since 1993, Meshell Ndegeocello has released five critically acclaimed albums featuring socially provocative lyrics driven by a solid groove. On her latest CD, Ndegeocello leaves her husky vocals behind and lets her bass guitar form the centerpiece of a new sound.

Ndegeocello says the title of her latest album is a reference to a lifelong feeling of being an outsider. Mephisto hide caption

itoggle caption Mephisto

"If you want foundation and groove, I'm the bass player for you," she tells Felix Contreras. "I don't want to solo, I want to create a space and bed for others to do what they do."

The 37-year-old Ndegeocello (whose self-determined surname means "free as a bird" in Swahili) grew up listening to music ranging from Stevie Wonder to Rush. Her own musical style has never been predictable, and she's not easily pegged to one genre. Her latest album, Dance of the Infidel, has been called jazz.

The album is also new territory for Ndegeocello in that it's not a solo effort. She performs with a group called Spirit Music Jamia. But Dance of the Infidel does not necessarily signal a change in course; Ndegeocello plans to record another pop vocal album in the fall.

Related NPR Stories

Purchase Featured Music

The Spirit Music Jamia: Dance of the Infidel

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

The Spirit Music Jamia: Dance of the Infidel
Meshell Ndegeocello

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?




Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.