Top positive review
One person found this helpful
on 30 August 2014
There is much to like on Rokia's 5th release. The sound is less obviously Malian, which seems to be a feature of the way Rokia's music is developing. There are one or two embarrassing moments, listen to the title track with it's teenage tantrum, or petulant rock star feel. Rokia is capable of much greater things.
Generally this is a wonderful step for a very independent singer songwriter. The ngoni provides the most obvious link to traditional Malian music with some great drumming by the big haired one from Polar Bear - he never overpowers things, leaving lots of space but can fire it out every now and then, when needed. There are some delicate backing vocals, good bass and pleasingly subtle electric guitars.
The last time I saw Rokia live it was a pretty disastrous occasion with Rokia getting close to becoming some kind of African variety act playing Fela Kuti and Miriam Makeba covers. Luckily this album is a much more complex and nuanced listen. Whether you've come from listening to Malian music or if you've stumbled across her from the John Parish and Sebastian Rochford side I think this is going to work for everyone. It's a Really good album. I recommend all Rokia's previous albums - start with her last release Tchamantche for a similar vibe and work your way back. Don't miss the collaboration with the Kronos Quartet on Bowmboi.