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Leni Stern: Love Comes Quietly

German-born New Yorker Leni Stern’s blues, jazz and rock licks on seven CDs in the 1980s and ’90s gained her a following among guitar aficionados, but in 1997 she abandoned instrumental music to flower into a singer and songwriter. On her fifth vocal effort, Stern’s songs take on a greater urgency, with part of that surely a result of her worldwide travels, most recently to Africa, India, Cambodia and Thailand.

“Inshaallah,” for example, is a richly layered song-with a beautiful oud performance by Brahim Fribgane-written and performed in Africa for the people in the desert of Essakane. Stern’s descriptive images of a wandering woman concludes with her “tall gun [that] never leaves her side.” Stern’s world-music influences come to light again on the traditional song “Reseke Bare Tore Nain,” which offers Dhanashree Pandit Rai’s almost chilling vocals.

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