Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Salif Keita, M'Bemba

M'Bemba is a largely acoustic album with a strong feel for Keita's Mande roots. And his core group of musicians is more or less unchanged. Kante Manfila, ­ his old colleague from the Malian supergroup Les Ambassadeurs ­ brings back his beautifully realised arrangements and distinctive instrumental voice on guitar. Ditto long-term sidekick Ousmane Kouyaté and Djelly Moussa Kouyaté. Percussionist Mino Cinelu is still creating marvellously cinematic atmospheres. There's a swooping female chorus haunting most tracks, and producer Jean Lamoot is still exerting his guiding influence on Keitas sometimes erratic taste.

But Mbemba has a lusher, more saturated sound, and it's upbeat, featuring the kind of studio effects and urgency of voice that characterised 1987 album Soro.

You can find the full review here.

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