"With her unique genre-bending blend of jazz, Hip Hop, R&B, and spoken word, Carolyn Malachi attracts new fans every day. This EP, “Lions, Fires, and Squares,” features new songs about relationships, love, and strength. The music from “Lions, Fires, and Squares” is influenced by her recent tour in South Africa with artist and activist Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP)."
- Brightest Young Things
"This triple threat artist has been delighting [listeners] with her poetry, jazz vocals and sizzling emcee'ing."
- The Washington Post
"Lions, Fires & Squares the new ep from D.C. based R&B/Soul/Spoken Word /Alternative artist Carolyn Malachi is an exciting aural adventure through a sonic landscape that is as futuristic as it is roots based. Malachi’s lead vocals are as intimate as being seated next to a good friend at small dinner party and through her background vocals she paints with a series of incredibly vibrant musical colors.
The spoken and the sung lyric exist here as equals; neither incarnation is an afterthought they are truly equal parts of the whole. What I enjoy are the different musical textures presented here and the confidence in which the uniqueness of the sound is presented. In a word, refreshing.
The production value on Lions, Fires & Squares is superb, both the acoustic and the digital are embraced here and the music is presented both skillfully and soulfully. Carolyn Malachi’s message resonates loud and clear with this reviewer and it is my hope that this project will serve as another step in bringing her sound to a much deserved wider audience."
- Ivan Orr
Grown Folks Music
"If America were ever in need an Afrofuturistic Alicia Keys to take its politics and boredom on a drugged-out soul music trip, DC native Carolyn Malachi’s newest EP, Lions, Fires & Squares, is selling tickets for the ride. It’s clear that the Smart Chicks Inc. founder wants to win a Grammy. Bad. You can hear it in the raw growls before the first track drops, ripe with the conviction of a woman on a musical mission.
Song and spoken word are masterfully layered on the subtly haughty intro track “Orion,” Malachi coos “Hey, Space Cowboy,” inviting The Hunter on a voyage through the Milky Way, where the lyrical quality is reminiscent of Jamiroquai and Meshell Ndegeocello. Conversely, “Textual,” swings with a jazzy, Esthero-like groove (think “Wikked Lil’ Grrrls”) on this party track. South African hip-hop artist and activist, HHP’s (Hip-Hop Pantsula) Motswako mixture conjures up a nasal, K’Naan-esque flow on this contagiously funky, soulful joint. Drums quicken and horns amplify here to usher in a more indigenous sound for HHP’s cameo.
But, when the lone guitar strums the tune “Dumela,” you will be called back from outer space to the roots of R&B music. Inspired by the Malachi’s recent visit to South Africa (sponsored by the community artist incubator, Bloombars) “Dumela” soothes with two simple Setswana phrases that will follow you around like lyrical ghosts throughout your day–”Sao bona,” or “I See You,” and “Dumela,” meaning “Believe.” This truly should have been the anthem to the 2010 World Cup. You might even make it your wedding song. I’ve seen this song still an entire room.
The only unfortunate choice on the EP was to allow the video game bleeping, sound effects-ridden “Textual” club remix to follow abruptly after the gentle ballad, “Dumela.” But, overall the album traverses this newly carved lane of Black contemporary music gracefully, sent from the future by the likes of Erykah Badu for emerging artists like Malachi who dare to dance with the Kosmos."
- Simone Jacobson