The popularity of West African musicians in world music is unchallenged yet again as the continent’s legendary names and lesser known artistes featured highly on most lists that summed up crucial work music releases from last year. At least two immensely interesting projects stood out among numerous collaborations - the stunning alliance between Amadou and Mariam and Manu Chao which produced the immeasurably blissful Dimanche a Bamako and the sublime In the Heart of the Moon from Malian master musicians Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate.
These partnerships, however, are not the only albums that will evoke wonderment and reverence long after the dust has settled. The endeavours from distinguished solo musicians such as Salif Keita (M’Bemba) and Cheikh Lo (Lamp Fall) would also emerge as significant postings in the history of roots music.
Considering most of the highlights of last year will be celebrated at the upcoming BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music 2006 (online polling ends Jan 31), it’s timely to make mention of the the notable 2005 releases that re-established world music’s presence on the racks.
Includes reviews of:
Emmanuel Jal and Abdel Gadir Salim: Ceasefire
Amadou & Mariam: Dimanche a Bamako
Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate: In the Heart of the Moon
Cheikh Lo: Lamp Fall
Salif Keita: M’Bemba
Souad Massi: Mesk Elil
Susheela Raman: Music for Crocodiles
Papua New Guinea Stringbands with Bob Brozman: Songs of the Volcano
Debashish Bhattacharya: 3: Calcutta Slide Guitar
Ballake Sissoko: Tomora Ballake Sissoko
You can find the full article here.