Various Artists: Lost in Mali

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This new release from Riverboat Records features up and coming artists from Mali; we’d say “ones you’ve not yet heard of” but you probably haven’t heard of many people from Mali, thought there is a good list: Tinariwen, Amadou and Mariam, Toumani Diabaté, Ali Farka Touré and of course the unique Salif Keita.

The tracks on here aren’t breaking any new ground and there are clear influences from across the world, from reggae to music from other parts of Africa, and the sounds range from your stereotypical “world” to slicker sounds that are more familiar to western ears.

Opener Nainy Koné and Ne Sabou is one of the former, a repetitive African groove under slick vocals. The same is true of Ali Baba Cissé’s Kaya, a laid-back rootsy tune.
Miria’s Union Malian Des Aveugles opens with funky guitar and could go anywhere until the very African groove and vocals come in. There’s lots of bass guitar and harmony in the chorus.

Barou Drame’s Diagatoula on the other hand is a more stripped down and traditional sound with a two-string guitar provided the backbone, and percussion from krakebs, giving a sound that’s leaning towards gnawa. This taste of ancient music is followed by the bright and sprightly Louanse from Kabako Bourama (ft Ramata Diakité) while Kas2 Kastro’s Adjobawla is reggae, complete with tom tom fills.

Easy on the ear, but the CD assures us that this is the music that’s being played now on the radios of Mali.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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