Friday, August 12, 2011

CD Review: Mamani Keita's 'Gagner L'Argent Francais'

Gagner L'Argent Francais

For someone with a name like Keita, you know good music cannot be too far behind. Mamani Keita is no exception. The contemporary edge of Mamani's music comes from the French composer and arranger, Nicolas Repac. Of course, Mamani's Malian upbringing provides a North African appeal with limited traditional instrumentation, however. Nevertheless, the kora, some percussion, and Bambara vocals directly place the music in a Malian context. The French presence is evidenced by the Afro-pop sensibilities of guitar-pop music with more of a creative feel somewhat removed from the typical pop-hit structures. However, Gagner L'Argent Francais, which means "To Earn French Money", is a hit in its own right. The music is a little more structed than fellow countrywoman, Rokia Traore, with the added guitar work similar to fellow countryman, Daby Toure. Mamani's beautiful vocals create a wonderful palette of musical color throughout the verses. Mamani strikes it rich here with a more adventurous and energetic rock edge than Tinariwen and Oumou Sangare combined. ~ Matthew Forss

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