Wednesday, January 14, 2015

CD Review: Boubacar Traore's 'Mbalimaou'

Boubacar Traore

Mali's iconic vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter, Boubacar Traore, brings us a fresh set of tracks steeped in Saharan charisma and African history on his latest release, Mbalimaou. The sauntering. bluesy tune, "Hona," resembles a little late-Ali Farka Toure influence with edgy harmonica, talented guitar fingerings, and light percussion. The album is rich with n'goni, sokou, kora, shaker, calabash, and karignan sounds. The music is rather acoustic and spacious with subtle intonations and jazzy grooves led by Boubacar's husky voicings. Malian blues are alive and well on the album. Comparisons to the late-Ali Farka Toure are noteworthy and necessary. Boubacar's guitar playing is more acoustic and experimental overall, but the bluesy and jazzy instrumentation adds to the contemplative mood of the music without compromising quality. The twelve-track release is a perfect introduction to Mali's blues, as well as a recommended album for more seasoned Saharan music fans. ~ Matthew Forss

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