Singer's sense of belonging

Singer's sense of belonging

Karen Mok's teenage dream of recording a jazz album comes to fruition on Somewhere I Belong, her first English language record.

Mok has quite a thin voice; but this isn't necessarily bad. In fact, her floaty vocals suit nearly all the tracks, from the rocky Wicked Game to the trad jazz numbers like The Man I Love and Stormy Weather. The decision to add the pipa to the latter lends it a unique, 1920s-Shanghai vibe. Mok adds this Asian flavour to three tracks on which she plays guzheng, including the Beatles' hit While My Guitar Gently Weeps, where the Chinese instrument is astonishingly effective.

Wicked Game, originally sung by the gravelly-voiced Chris Isaak, may not seem like a natural choice, but Mok plays on the vulnerability in her voice, and gives into the song's darkness.

The low point, if there is one, is My Funny Valentine, a jazz standard, perhaps perfected by Ella Fitzgerald, on which Mok sounds a little too chirpy against the melancholic melody.

Mok is in her comfort zone with both her conversions of songs of other genres and the classics; you can almost hear her smile in A Fine Romance and I Can't Give You Anything But Love. If she's ever questioned where she belongs, the answer is jazz.

YP Rating: 4/5

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