Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CD Review: Issa Bagayogo - Malian Master

Issa Bagayogo
Mali Koura
Six Degrees

Mali's Issa Bagayogo produces yet another high quality album of adventurous tracks from Africa's sahel. His instrument of choice, the kamale ngoni (three-stringed lute), provides a perfect link of the rustic and earthy sounds of traditional music with more modern musical elements. For instance, his kamala ngoni is joined by guitar, bass, djembe drum, calabash, flute, violin, kora, sax, accordion, piano, synthesizer, and electronic programming. These instruments and styles meld succinctly with European arrangements and North African sensibilities. His voice catapults the tracks into new dimensions as the songs quickly enrapture the listener's attention. His vocal and musical style is similar to Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi, while distinctly different from the late-Ali Farka Toure. The music of Mali Koura is somewhat danceable, highly addictive, and refreshing. Track highlights on this recording are: "Sebero", "Poye", "Dibi", and "Ahe Sira Bila". Issa brings the world of Timbuktu closer to home for everyone! ~ Matthew Forss

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