Thursday, January 10, 2008

Selection from This Is London's Music Review of the Year.
By Simon Broughton

Orchestra Baobab: Made in Dakar (World Circuit)
With lyrical vocals, ringing guitar lines and funky sax, Senegal's Orchestra Baobab are the best band in Africa. They formed in the Seventies, broke up in the Eighties and re-formed about five years ago. With Nick Gold's expert production, this is a glorious album.

Fanfare Ciocarlia: Queens & Kings (Asphalt Tango)
There's a real buzz about Balkan gipsy music right now and, backed by Romania's lightning-speed brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia, this magnificent showcase of Roma stars shows you why. It includes Macedonia's formidable Esma Redzepova and other top artists from Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and France in a characteristic mixture of the exuberant and soulful.

Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba: Segu Blue (Out Here)
Bassekou Kouyaté has made a real impact with this album and his live shows. From Mali, Kouyaté is the acknowledged master of the ngoni, the West African desert lute. What he's put together here is a funky quartet of the instruments with lilting vocals by his wife Amy Sacko.

Mario Pacheco: Clube de Fado (World Connection)
This CD is like an evening in a top Lisbon fado club. Pacheco is a fine composer and guitarist and, alongside a couple of singers from his club, guest performances from star fadistas Mariza and her male equivalent, Camané, this disc includes some beautiful guitar instrumentals.

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