on 4 May 2014
Another fine album from this Malian bluesman. Try anything from his back catalogue as all his albums are good.
Here the sound is very polished and smooth but does have an authentic feel. Habib's voice is not one of those big Malian voices, it fits nicely with his acoustic guitar playing. He sings in a variety of different Malian languages: Malinke, Dogon, Khassonke, Bambara, also one track with some English, and another with the universal sound of the whistle! The album is mainly acoustic, there are some keyboards but they fit really well, never overwhelming the sound.
Toumani Diabate plays kora and Bassekou Kouyate n'goni on one track called Terere. The musicians are great throughout - very nice backing vocals, with a banjo on some tracks. The feeling is generally quite laid back with the occasional track having more percussion, for example the faster paced 'Diarabi Niani' or 'Balon tan' which also has a bit of rap. 'LA' is a different version to the one played on Habib's last album with Eric Bibb, it's a song celebrating Tequila!
There's a lovely gentle instrumental track to end the album.
on 13 August 2014
Another one of those random purchases made after hearing a track on a sampler/compilation CD with a magazine - it must have been Songlines or fRoots. Anyway, I was suitably impressed and decided to take the plunge. No regrets! This is a fantastic record.
World music is often infused with optimism, and this is no different, but the sonorous tenor vocals of Habib and his thoughtful and often introspective songwriting style are far more subtle than I have come to associate with the music of Africa. Of particular note are the glorious female vocal harmonies that are infused with real depth and beauty.
Habib has clearly listened to a lot of Western roots music (he even plays banjo on many of the tracks), but he doesn't try to emulate it - instead infusing touches of familiar Western musical sensibilities to his own template. I love that. And he really knows how to write a good hookline, too! Score: 4.3/5