After nearly 10 years since she recorded her last album, the great world music star Oumou Sangaré has a new album titled Mogoya. Oumou is Mali’s finest female and a leading figure in African and world music. She’s also a songwriter who writes most of her material.
Mogoya is a fabulous recording that combines Malian tradition with western trip hop modernity along with some good humor.
Oumou invited trailblazing Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, one of the pioneers of Afrobeat, who adds his memorable signature drum style on “Yere Faga,” a song that provides support to individuals suffering from depression.
The lineup includes Oumou Sangaré on vocals; Toni Allen on drums; Kandy Guira on backing vocals; Guimba Kouyaté on guitar; Benogo Diakité on kamele ngoni; and French production collective A.L.B.E.R.T. (Vincent Taurelle, Ludovic Bruni and Vincent Taeger), who added cutting edge electronic keyboards and other instruments tastefully.
Mogoya is an excellent, beautifully-crafted album by Oumou Sangaré, one of the greatest vocalists in Africa. It was well worth the wait.
Mogoya (Nø Førmat), the new recording by Malian world music star Oumou Sangaré is the number 1 album this month at the Transglobal World Music Chart.
Oumou Sangaré combines tradition with modernity by using Malian instruments such as the kamele n’goni (harp), karignan (metal scraper) and calabash mixed with electric guitar, bass, keyboards and synthesizres. Afrobeat legend, drummer Tony Allen is one of the guests featured in Mogoya.
Malian band Songhoy Blues is set to release its to release its second album ‘Résistance’ (Transgressive Records) in June. The recording features guest appearances from Iggy Pop, Elf Kid, and Stealing Sheep.
Résistance’ also includes string sections and a children’s choir.
Too often when we hear “it must be something in the blood” it conjures up images of someone gone wrong somewhere, but nothing could be further from that kind of assumption when we’re talking about Mali’s Vieux Farka Toure.
Son of the musical powerhouse Ali Farka Toure, Vieux Farka Toure has not just continued in his father’s musical footsteps but blazed a path of his own with recordings like Vieux Farka Toure, Fondo, The Secret, Mon Pays and Touristes with Julia Easterlin and an ongoing collaboration with Israeli musician Idan Raichel on the Toure-Raichel Collective. And the righteous riffs just keep coming with the Six Degrees Records release of his latest of Samba.
Mr. Toure is just content to rest on his vocals and guitar playing laurels on Samba; instead he composed and arranged all the tracks and produced this latest with co-producer Eric Herman. Mr. Toure explains the recording process of Samba, “It was not a regular studio session nor was it a concert. It was somewhere in between. We were recording the album, but we had an audience of about fifty people in the room with us. The audience understood it was to witness the process of recording an album, not to present a concert in a studio, which was a very good thing because we got the energy of a live concert with the quality of a studio recording.”
Rich, warm and rewarding, Samba pulls at the threads of desert blues, funk, reggae, rock and Malian praise song to create a polished, masterful collection of tracks. From the opening of the guitar lick laced “Bonheur” through to the deliciously catchy “Ni Negaba,” Mr. Toure lets his listeners ride a wave of hypnotic grooves while using his musical voice to express the joys of family, the importance of protecting the environment and the pitfalls of religious fanaticism in the wake of Mali’s recent struggles with jihadism where music was banned and musicians were abused or exiled.
Backed by such musicians as drummer Mamadou Kone, calabash player Soulemane Kane, ngoni players Maffa Diabate and Abdoulaye Kone, bassists Marshall Henry, Eric Herman and Checikmare Ba, shaker and kourignans player Tim Keiper and organist and keyboardist Rob Cohen, Mr. Toure gives listeners a delicious ride on sizzling tracks like “Ba Kaitere” and “Homafu Wawa,” and doles out delectable treats like the guitar and ngoni enfused “Samba Si Kairi” and the cool grooves of “Nature.” Fans get a dose of guest keyboardist Idan Raichel on the track “Mariam,” a track dedicated to Mr. Toure’s little sister, and the delightfully elegant track “Maya.”
Despite some doubts about the success of Samba, Mr. Toure says of the experience, “It was an interesting idea but I did not know how it would go. Luckily everything was perfect. There was a great ambience there for the session and we were able to capture this unique energy for the album.”
Mr. Toure has certainly blazed his own path on Mali’s musical griot road of riches with Samba. Must be something in the blood.
Mamadou Kelly – Politiki (Clermont Music CLE 016CD, 2017)
Superb Malian guitarist Mamadou Kelly skillfully combines Saharan desert blues with American blues on Politiki.
In addition to his regular band, BanKaiNa, Mamadou Kelly invited American musicians such as award-winning steel guitar master Cindy Cashdollar, Susie Ibarra on drums, Jake Silver on bass, and Dan Littleton on guitars.
Politiki is a remarkable combination of West African and American blues genres featuring outstanding guitar work.
Acclaimed Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré will be touring the United States April-May 2017. The tour begins at Brooklyn New York’s BRIC House on Thursday, April 6th, coinciding with the official release of Samba (Six Degrees Records), Vieux Farka Touré’s new album.
Samba was recorded as part of the Woodstock Sessions, a series that combines live performance and studio recording with their ground-breaking venue.
While Touré was recording the album, he had an audience of about fifty people in the room. Touré received the vigor of a live concert with the quality of a studio recording. Touré was very satisfied with the experience, “we were able to capture this unique energy for the album.”
Vieux Farka Touré Spring 2017 Tour Dates:
4/6: BRIC House, Brooklyn, NY
4/7: Villa Victoria, Boston, MA
4/8: The Outdoor Space, Hamden, CT
4/10: World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA
4/11: Club Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA
4/12: Creative Alliance, Baltimore, MA
4/13: The Mothlight, Asheville, NC
4/14: King’s, Raleigh, NC
4/15: Charleston Pour House, Charleston, SC
4/18: Proud Larry’s Oxford, MI
4/19: Terminal West, Atlanta, CA
4/22: Transatlantic, Miami Beach, FL
4/24: Casbah, San Diego, CA
4/25: Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA
4/26: Yoshi’s, Oakland, CA
4/28: Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, CA
4/29: Grass Valley Center for the Arts, Grass Valley, CA
4/30: Ner Shalom, Cotati, CA
5/03: Nectar Seattle, WA
5/04: Star Theater, Portland, OR
5/05: Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
5/07: Neurolux, Boise, ID
5/09: State Room, Salt Lake City, IA
Sitting back and listening to the latest recording Kidal by Mali’s desert blues/rock group Tamikrest, I wondered if I would have even heard about the continuing struggles of the Tuareg and other desert peoples if it weren’t for the lush music spilling out of the Sahara by way of groups like Tamikrest and other musician groups like Terakaft, Tinariwen and Etran Finatawa or the powerful Sahrawi singer and musician Mariem Hassan. Sadly, I think few would even know that people live and travel these remote parts of the Sahara much less know about the struggle to maintain their nomadic identity if it weren’t for the music.
Fortunately for us Glitterbeat Records has got all the little music junkies out there covered with Tamikrest and their latest Kidal set for release on March 17th. Following up on previous recordings Adagh, Toumastin, Chatma and Taksera, Tamikrest again wraps up listeners in the familiar sleek guitars, rolling rhythms and meaty vocals on Kidal.
Recorded in Bamako, Mali, Kidal gets some extra special treatment with producer Mark Mulholland from Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra and mixer David Odlum who earned a Grammy for his work with the group Tinariwen. Two years in the making, Kidal is worth every single track.
Tamikrest leader Ousmane Ag Mossa says of the recording, “Kidal talks about dignity. We consider the desert as an area of freedom to live in. But many people consider it as just a market to sell multinational companies, and for me, that is a major threat to the survival of our nomadic people.”
Opening with those familiar desert blues riffs on “Mawarniha Tartit,” Tamikrest lays down a sound that’s hypnotic and driven. Packed with guitar, percussion and drums, Kidal kicks some serious rock riffs. Tracks like “Manhouy Inerizhan,” “War Toyed” and “War Tila Eridaran” are brilliantly fiery, but its tracks like slower and bluesy “Atwitas” that blow the listener away with its sleek, edgy guitar, laced in kora lines and roughed over vocals.
Kidal is chocked full of goodies like the acoustic guitar led “Tanakra,” the fabulously trippy and immensely satisfying “Ehad Wad Nadorhan” and the folksy, homey “Erres Hin Atouan” with its call and response vocals. There’s also the rocking “Adoutat Salilagh” and the sweetly worked closing track “Adad Osan Itibat” to satisfy all your desert blues/rock needs.
Kidal is power to the people through music and it doesn’t get any better than that.