11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Superb Mali Music!, 25 April 2002
Do you need a change? Are you in the mood for something new and exotic? Well then, how does a trip to Mali sound? Good? Then let yourself be carried away by Mali Music, an album conceived and produced by Damon Albarn (leader of Blur and Gorillaz) and the musicians he befriended during his stay in Mali in July 2000. Let them take you along on their adventures, to the very places where Damon recorded over 80 hours of traditional music, accompanied at times by Damon's melodica and humming. This musical project (initiated by the Oxfam charity organization) represents the merging of two different musical landscapes. Damon edited and worked on the recordings in his London studio, enriching them with dubbing and electronic effects. The result is an eclectic album, a total of sixteen pieces marrying Malian and Western music, which takes the listener on a musical journey. A ride on the Niger River, a visit of Bamako's Institut National des Arts, and stops at the Kela and Griot Villages are all on the itinerary. You will be surprised and happy to discover how delightfully Toumani Diabaté's kora (a 21-cord harp), the njurka (a traditional violin), the balafon, the ngoni and the Griots' singing mesh with the piano, keyboards, guitars and electronic music. The 40-page booklet accompanying the CD is equally superb.
Do you wish to become acquainted to Malian music without getting bogged down by it? Opt for Mali Music then, the first release of Honest Jon's Records, a label founded by Damon Albarn and his friends from the Portobello Road record shop. Have a good trip!