This is the soundtrack to the French film about one of the greatest African artists of our times. If you have ever wondered about the origins of the American blues, listen to KarKar, as he is known in Mali. Thematically the songs are extraordinarily intelligent, metaphysical, ontological, existential. One of the things Americans have lost, regardless of their cultural heritage, is the sense of nuance that made a turn of phrase a philosophical and heartbreaking treatise. While US singers, regardless of race, seem to exalt in the bloody obvious, losing any grasp on subtlety, this man virtually oozes the sublime and the sophistication of a life fully informed with tragedy, passion, inspiration and joy. His guitar playing is exquisite, his voice one of a solitary visionary crying out into the wilderness.
This disc has a very ambient feel. There are field recordings made in the villages of Mali, in the streets of Timbuktu, sometimes with legendary colleagues such as Ali Farka Toure, or on stage in concert with his daughter, Rokia Traore. You hear audiences celebrating an icon, you hear children listening in rapture. The wind, the dust, the sounds of Northern Africa blow mystically through this disc. It is a wonder.
Perhaps a DVD of this film will be released in North America. I am moved beyond words by the songs on this disc, the voice, the guitar playing. Do yourself an enormous spiritual favour, and pick this up. You'll never listen to music in the same way thereafter.