Currently based in Whitehorse, Yukon, Big Mama Lele is a breath of fresh air in the Canadian music scene, presenting her latest EP release, the 5-song compilation, Letters Are Better.
Letters Are Better groups together a handful of tunes that would make a perfect home between a small group of friends circled around a backyard bonfire, or listened to from your favourite, small-town bar stool with Lele, in all her glory, singing out to every person watching.
Upholding a ‘true to the folk genre’ sound, each track utilizes Big Mama Lele’s talent, both with her steamy and thought-provoking vocals, and with her charming ukulele playing, telling a story and keeping the listener engaged as they move through the EP.
“Dirty Old Man” gives a hint at Lele’s past traveling ways, reiterating over and over to the ‘dirty old man’ who picked her up on the side of the road that he “ain’t gettin’ some from [her]…” Then moving to the audience, Lele’s live sound flawlessly melds into her recorded sound as she exhorts, “Now stick your thumb out / But don’t put out…”
“Biking Home” temporarily changes the pace of the EP, slowing things down and introducing a more melancholic tone from the earlier tune, and from “If You Want to Learn Russian,” which speeds things up again, and humorously takes a look at the Russian language with all of its intricate letters and symbols that seem so foreign.
“Letters are Better” takes the idea of an old lover and creates a sense of nostalgia through metaphors and double entendres, comparing this old lover to written letters and mixed tapes as opposed to Facebook and modern technology: “Your package means so much to me,” as well as, “I’m the kind of girl who loves when her box is full of you / put it in my box…”
“Montreal Boys” adds a funk-y, blues-y feel to this closing track, finishing the EP on a slower, but equally hilarious note, poking fun at well, ‘boys’ in Montreal.
The honesty from Big Mama Lele, while unique, can be compared to early-years Alanis Morissette or Ani DiFranco. While not explicitly obvious, this EP praises women, empowers women, with every silly and truthful anecdote that Big Mama belts out.
Letters are Better demonstrates the possibly strange, sometimes ironic, and always relatable moments in life that can be taken for granted, but that are showcased beautifully and comedically on this 5-song EP. If you’ve been searching for the new musical something-something, this is exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Written by Robyn Smith