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AfroCubism Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: £12.46 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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The great world music album that-never-was has finally been realized. The project that became the Buena Vista Social Club has borne its own extraordinary fruit.

In 1996, a group of Mali's finest musicians were due to fly into Havana for a speculative collaboration with some of Cuba's most brilliant singers and instrumentalists. For reasons that have never been made clear, the ... Read more in Amazon's AfroCubism Store

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for 3 albums, 7 photos, discussions, and more.

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AfroCubism + ALI AND TOUMANI + Fatou
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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 Oct 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: World Circuit
  • ASIN: B0040GIZOS
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,008 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Mali Cuba
2. Al vaivén de mi carreta
3. Karamo
4. Djelimady Rumba
5. La Culebra
6. Jarabi
7. Eliades Tumbao 27
8. Dakan
9. Nima Diyala
10. A la luna yo me voy
11. Mariama
12. Para los Pinares se va Montoro
13. Benséma
14. Guantanamera

Product Description

BBC Review

It’s not always a disaster when plans go astray. Fourteen years after the celebrated sessions in Havana that gave rise to the Buena Vista Social Club, AfroCubism is a re-imagining of how that record might have sounded if the original idea of a collaboration between Malian and Cuban musicians had worked out. In the event, the Malians didn’t arrive, so the project became almost purely Cuban, and spawned the eponymous mega-hit.

Of course, many of those involved are sadly no longer with us. Even so, AfroCubism brings together core members of the originally envisaged group with several Mali-based luminaries. Although the material is equally divided between the two cultures, the predominant ambience of AfroCubism is West African. In fact, the sound and arrangements often recall the lovely instrumental album Ballad of Manding (2007) by the inexplicably obscure guitarist and ngoni player Zoumana Diarra.

The best-known figure on AfroCubism – and arguably the group’s leader – is guitarist and singer Eliades Ochoa, who featured on Buena Vista Social Club’s version of Chan Chan. He opens the vocals with a beautifully relaxed take on Al Vaivén De Mi Carreta, a song he once recorded with its composer, Cuban troubadour Ñico Saquito. In a deft symbolic gesture, the other main singer Kasse-Mady Diabaté takes over in the second half, gently moderating his usually stern griot tone to suit the vibe.

Kora maestro Toumani Diabaté maintains a surprisingly discreet presence throughout, only really cutting loose on his own fine composition Mali Cuba, and later on Benséma. Djelimady Tounkara will be familiar to fans of the Super Rail Band, and his fluid, mildly psychedelic electric guitar is especially impressive on Djelimady Rumba. Lassana Diabaté drops breathtaking runs on his balafon (wooden xylophone) into many of the pieces. The other major star is ngoni specialist Bassekou Kouyate, who startles by switching to an amplified bass version of his instrument on the spooky and atmospheric Dakan. Horns, a rhythm section and backing vocalists fill out the arrangements.

World Circuit’s two decade-plus exploration of the long history of musical exchange between Cuba and West Africa didn’t necessarily guarantee the success of AfroCubism, but these players seem to have overcome considerable cultural differences and generated good chemistry together. If the ego issues that often beset such supergroups can be kept in check, this probably won’t be their only outing.

--Jon Lusk

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Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful music 13 Oct 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I played this wonderful, wonderful record for the first time this morning. I loved it immediately. It really is beautiful - a much overused word with regards music, but in this instance entirely apt. I shall leave it to others to wax lyrical about the coming together of sounds and cultures; it is enough for me to recommend this release without reservation. It will brighten your day, it really will...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Afrocubism in Istanbul 15 Dec 2010
Format:Audio CD
I was lucky enough to watch the group live, in Istanbul, just a few days before I received the cd. Although I thoroughly enjoyed their stage performance, I still would go for the studio version. It is a superb recording and all the instruments and voices come through as if you are listening to the group play in the same room. I understand this project was originally planned for instead of Buena Vista Social Club but did not happen because the Mali part of the group were not able to travel then. It may have been the luckiest misfortune ever. This way we are both blessed with BVSC and Afrocubism probably will also benefit from BVSC's reputation as well. Best of luck to these ambassadors of Cuban/ Mali music...
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
There's a great story behind 'AfroCubism'. When Nick Gold & Ry Cooder went to Cuba back in 1996, they were intending to record Malian mucians with Cuban musicians. But the Malians never showed up (visa issues apparently) so there they were with 3 weeks booked in the studio and no collaboration. They worked on other ideas and ended up recording Buena Vista Social Club - the rest, as they say, is history. Or world music history at least :)

The original idea for the project - AfroCubism - has finally seen the light of day, so is it worth the wait? Well, the band is certainly more of a supergroup than it would have been back in 1996 - Cuban Eliades Ochoa & Malians Bassekou Kouyate & the kora genius Toumani Diabate in particular having high profiles in their own right these days, and the album more than reflects the considerable talent of all those involved. The discipline of the Cuban rhythm section makes sense of collaborations involving the looser more improvisational Malian style. There is even a fresh & enjoyable improvisation re-working of 'Guantanamera'!

This record blends traditions, pushes boundaries & gives you something thoroughly enjoyable to listen to. If you loved Buena Vista Social Club then you will love this too. Joy & exuberance abound!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Afrocubism 12 Jan 2011
Format:Audio CD
Whichever side you're coming from, ie an interest in Cuban music, an interest in Africn music, a fan of both or even someone new to 'World music', this album has it all - wonderful playing, singing, composition and that wonderful feeling that comes across of everyone just having such a great time creating something which is a genuine fusion of styles, rather than clumsy Damon Albarn-style bolting on of one music to another.

Songs are by turns more Malian than Cuban and visa versa in their basic rythms and composition, but the playing blends in wonderfully, each set of musicians copying and reproducing the opthers' styles to create something genuinely seamless and unique.

Something also very evident here, and which I increasingly appreciate about much 'World music' in general, is that the best-known artists, Eliades Ochoa, Toumani Diabate, Bassekou Kouyate, are all capable of stepping aside and letting others take the lead - this was very evident when i saw the Afrocubism show recently - Fode Lassana Diabaté on the balafon (a truly wonderful Malian instrument resembling a large wooden xylophone) was given as much solo time as any of those I mention above, as were all the other artists.

This should, and I hope will, become just as essential to anyone's music collection as 'Buena Vista Social CLub' itself, and well done to Nick Gold for finally bringing it all together.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling musical communication 5 Dec 2010
Format:Audio CD
The post dated nature of this mingling of African and Cuban musicians has inevitably tinted the eventual album. The phenomenon of the Buena Vista Social Club has impacted on world music, world circuit and no doubt influences the 2010 product. Presumably the popularity of the Cuban album means that the Cuban influence may be greater than originally intended. This is not necessarily a negative comment, so much as an observation.
Arguably musical cultures and influences take decades, if not centuries to truly blend and to become something with integrity and lustre. The success of the Cuban project showed this, as it was essentially conservative in nature. Of course Cuban music is a hybrid itself, a beautiful outcome from a legacy of colonial and historical violence and upset....a flower on the rust heap of human history.
The idea of pushing cultures together, even in a romantic marriage, is more artificial and has Frankenstein aspects about it.
Here there is a beautiful meeting, and already Western African music has taken an influence from Cuban styles; which means it does not seem forced, like an airport lounge encounter.
Certain tracks emphasise the African musicians, so often there is a contrast, rather than a mixing. The outcome is not quite as radical or free as you may expect. Largely this is considered musicianship, not some kind of improvised jam session between strangers. There is little grandstanding here.
This is a wonderful album, providing threads of musical ideas and melody, that will keep the appreciative listener absolutely entranced. This truly shows how music is a power for harmony, in every sense, for life and for art.
For me as an enthusiast of World Circuit's output, this proves again what a creative and original label it is.
How about some new musical areas too?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars well rounded
It's a great album. My friend introduced me to it, I introduced my mum and dad to it, we all like it lots. Read more
Published 16 months ago by molly barrett
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
I love the mix of the stringed instruments, the percussive Cuban style with the rolling Mali-an sounds, and the mix of the Cuban Sonero singing style with the solo African calling... Read more
Published on 27 Mar 2012 by Tess
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid mixture between Mali and Cuba
A very nice mixture between Cuban and Malian music! If you like Buena Vista Social Club you will certainly also like this one.
Published on 19 Feb 2012 by Jonas Möller Nielsen
4.0 out of 5 stars Just what I wanted
I heard a track from this album on a world music radio show and bought it for my mum for xmas. I've only heard a couple of the songs, and they were good, and my mum thinks it's... Read more
Published on 19 Jan 2012 by krcmckay1
5.0 out of 5 stars Afrocubism
After having seen the group in concert I was very keen to get the CD. It came quickly and it is brilliant!
Published on 27 Dec 2010 by Karen Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars Great execution of the original conecpt
Although I do think Buena Vista Social Club was a happy accident that should have happened, it is great to see the follow through of the original idea of W. Read more
Published on 5 Dec 2010 by T. H. Matheu
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting and life affirming
I was lucky enough to be at the concert at the Barbican last weekend. It was stunning. I felt really priviledged to see and hear such great musicians play. Read more
Published on 27 Nov 2010 by ISR
4.0 out of 5 stars just what I was looking for...
I got this CD for my mum for her birthday. It arrived really quickly which was good as I had been a bit slow with sorting something out for her. Read more
Published on 20 Nov 2010 by cnd1234
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual music
Every now and then there is a programme on the TV and you wonder where they get their music from. well, it is not to belittle this product in any way, but now I know that some... Read more
Published on 21 Oct 2010 by Miriana Ponte
4.0 out of 5 stars not as good as the hype but still quite good
at 1st listen i was totally dissapointed by this but i'm coming round to it. it seems a bit over-produced and the balafon hardly sounds like a balafon for the best part of the... Read more
Published on 21 Oct 2010 by acoustilingus
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