Thursday, May 24, 2012

CD Review: Makan Badje Tounkara's 'Sodjan'

Makan Badje Tounkara
Buda Musique

Mali's Makan Badje Tounkara is a gifted composer, arranger, singer, and n'goni soloist. Makan is joined by bass n'goni, djembe drum, tama drum, fle gourd, krin scraper, and several vocalists. Nana Coulibaly, Gedon Diara, Adama Diabate, Fatoumata Kouyate, Modi Tounkara, Yakouba Sissoko, Djifili, Modibo Diabate, and Mamadou Tounkara round out the personnel. The lilting strings and plucked lutes combine with light percussion and energetic vocals to produce a very organic result. The n'goni is the star of the album. Having been popularized by Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba, the n'goni is a charming little instrument with aural sound qualities and raw outcome. The melodies are slightly blues-tinged, but Afro-folk melodies are the main concern here. There are a few wholly instrumental tunes, but vocals are presented on almost every track. Fans of Malian folk music should not leave this one behind. ~ Matthew Forss

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