Soro (1987) [VINYL]
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Format: Vinyl LP album. Sterns Records, United Kingdom release from 1987. Gatefold album from Salif Keita, heavily influenced by the the traditional griot music from the west African country Mali and other influences from Cuba, Spain etc.. "Salif Keita's seminal album that broke all the records and changed all the rules. No album before or since Soro has had quite the same impact." "Epic. The album surrounds one of the world's great voices with a brooding intensity - nothing has sounded quite the same since." 6 tracks including: Wamba, Soro (Afriki), Souareba, Sina (Soumouya), Cono, Sanni Kegniba.
Top Customer Reviews
The music is a happy mix of percussion, bass, guitar, congas, saxophone, trumpet, trombone and keyboards. Soro (Afriki) is a long piece in three parts with different percussive tempos and instrumental breaks. Souareba is a particularly moving song with a spiritual undertone, orchestral arrangement and soaring vocals.
Sina (Soumbouya) is a more traditional piece with a bubbling rhythm, flashes of trumpet and the intricate vocal interplay. With its slower pace and gently lilting rhythm, Cono is a soulful ballad with a lovely melody, whilst the mournful Sanni Kegniba is more traditional with intense soaring vocals.
Soro from 1987 is considered his masterpiece but I like Keita¹s albums Amen and The Mansah Of Mali even more for their greater variety. This however remains a classic of African crossover music.
"Soro" is rooted in "griot" blended with playing from American-influenced, Paris-based jazz musicians. Influences from Latin America may also be detected. This was the first time Keita used a small chorus of female backing singers to anchor the melody and act as a counterpoint to his own soaring vocals, later to become one of the trademarks of his sound as it developed into maturity. Complex percussion lines and beautiful, crisp bass playing overlaid with superlative brass create a melodic, soulful sound.
Keita's voice is in its prime, with the exuberant confidence of youth married to the disciplined and controlled delivery of an experienced professional artist. Production values are first class, and even after 20 years the sound is beautiful, rich and deep, as fresh as the day it was recorded.
The accompanying booklet (CD only, not the MP3 download) offers all the song lyrics translated into English - useful, as Salif does not sing in English but mainly in West African languages and occasionally in French.
But this electrifying album started all that, and the concert tour that accompanied it was mesmerising, one of the best gigs I have seen in nearly 50 years of concert-going, where all the stops were pulled out with his voice, the choir and the band (virtually unchanged from the studio musicians that made the album).
If you need to be reminded of its greatness, listen to the first two tracks while trying to transport yourself back to the late 80s and ask yourself, honestly, if anything you had heard before in world music had prepared you for the fantastic guitars, the horns, the extraordinary female chorus, the thumping rhythm section, and that searing, soaring voice, still a wonder to hear in modern music of any genre.
This is the album that should kickstart your world music collection!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Salif Keita has a great voice, but this album will take a few listenings before I make a judgement on the contentPublished on 28 Feb. 2014 by ACP
Recently repurchased this album. Still as good as I remember and remains fresh with some wonderful sounds. A highly recommended album.Published on 3 Feb. 2014 by Jefferson Collard
After listening to the glorious Four Brothers I wanted to explore the genre further so bought this album based on the reviews below. What a disappointment! Read morePublished on 2 Dec. 2004