All Rivers

Released: 18 Nov 2022

Label: Tru Thoughts

‘All Rivers’ is the Tru Thoughts debut and first solo English-speaking release for renowned songwriter and vocalist, Karolina. Curating a thoughtful blend of Jazz, Afrobeat and Soul, ‘All Rivers’ is a journey through the space between daydream, fantasy and reality and the emotions that dictate us. The LP follows Karolina’s solo albums and her releases as part of trio, Habanot Nechama. More recently, the songstress 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.

The album, alongside title/focus 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”.

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. Creating a soundscape reminiscent of a classic black and white film, Karolina transforms the love story originally written by Uzi Finerman. In what she described as a magical experience, Karolina sat down with her son’s (too-small) guitar to write this song, creating a swoon of acoustic romance which she took to producer Rejoicer who offered up the idea of the chorus. “There are songs that come easy and there are songs that take time… and the melody for this fell on my head”, she adds. Working with Rejoicer on production across ‘All Rivers’, further musical collaborative offerings come from Amir Bresler, Eyal Talmudi and Nitai Hershkovits.

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”. 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.

Relatable sentiments continue to echo through “Self Voodoo feat. Rejoicer”. Here, Karolina paints a picture of a voodoo doll she has created in her own image and is proceeding to hurt. She calls for herself to stop doing harm and to stay on her own side. Though its origins lie in self-doubt and criticism, “Self Voodoo” is a call for self-love. As Karolina explains: “Music is a healer and I’m using this song to help myself and remind myself to give my voodoo doll a hug”.

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.