Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita Review

Not since Ali Farka Tourè collaborated with Ry Cooder back in 1994 has there been an album to rival – or better still – to sit so seamlessly alongside their masterpiece. The album is a timely reminder that while we all may inhabit a planet that is separated by seas and lands, we are in fact much closer to one another than we might be lead to believe.

So, find yourself 15 minutes, sit back and prepare to be sent on a journey.

The album is available through Amazon.

This is what keeps me a world music listener.

What a great way to start the year.


Toumastin’s new flavour of Tinariwen

If you followed the group Tinariwen on their epic journey from their first release (still in my opinion the most interesting, but probably the least accessible to desert blues virgins) you’ll really appreciate the way their music has evolved and managed to reach an ever growing fan-base.

Toumastin’s second album, probably hidden from view due the publicity that Tinariwen has achieved in these years, is less strong than their first. For Tinariwen fans that track that is going to get the most traction is The best track has to be “Tarhamanine Assinegh”, with its rolling groove.

There a promotional video on the rights that brings a flavour of what to expect on the album.

Boubacar Traoré – The bluesman

I went browsing last week on my favourite world music shop,, to see what I might have missed out on since my last visit (children can put months between the things we used to do on a daily basis – happily!). I noticed that I haad missed out on an album that was in fact released two years ago. If you’re a fan of the late Ali Farka Toure, or just love the blues of John Lee Hooker, then come back to the place that Ethnomusicologist Gerhard Kubik cited as the birthplace of Blues.  The video on the right is taken from the Boubacar’s album Mali Denhou. Relaxing 🙂

Guinea: the old (part 1/2)

I’ve just been listening to a track by the Bembeya Jazz National (see the video on the right). A track from the 1960s needs some context so here goes: it was following Guinean Independence in 1958 that saw Guinean pride soar to new levels and numerous bands sprang up throughout the African country. Of those that appeared, one of the most noted was the Bembeya Jazz National, which won two awards at the Biennale festivals of 1962 and 1964. It’s when you listen to Bembeya Jazz that you appreciate that it’s sound is timeless and, unlike Europe’s modern day Biennale X-factor, by contrast Bembeya will provide people in future years with their musical awakening, and fuel a desire to learn about music from the African continent. The group was formed by Aboubacar Dembar Camara in 1961 and the group, which went on to include members such as lead vocalist Sekouba Mabino Diabate, and Sekou “Diamond Fingers” Diabate on electric guitar, specialized in modern arrangements of classic Manding songs. After Camara was sadly killed ina car accident in 1973 critics said the group lost its sparkle, despite continuing for a number of years before finally disbanding in 1991. So here on these pages we salute Camara and members of Bembeya Jazz National for the music and the passion of their grooves.

Africa 50 Years of Independence 1960-2010

If you didn’t buy the compilation of 2010, “Africa 50 years of Indepdence 1960-2010” you are forgiven only as long as you are ignorant of this album, and you have just lost that right by reading this post (sorry about that!).

In fact I’m opening a new category just for this album because it is one of the greatest collections of African music for African aficionados that’s been compiled period. Splitting the continent along geographic lines will see three CDs on West Africa, South Africa, South Eastern Africa…and all the others…’s all there. What’s lovely about this album (which finally spreads itself out over 18 CDS) is the accompanying booklet that comes with the CDs. Sleeve notes, all but abandoned in this digital age, are and remain an integral part of any music compilation and the booklet is more akin to a encyclopedia of African music. So, if you’ve not bought this album and you love African music and the reviews on this website, save up and get this legendary addition to your collection.

Cheikh Lo’s Jamm…Chill, and enjoy the groove

I can’t believe I missed this one, but miss it I did, and so for some of the readers this might be old news. But as I am trying to document the best in World music, I will not be deterred from writing about one of my favourite Senagelese artists, who’s album releases are a rarity to say the least – on average they come around once every five years!.

I first discovered Cheikh Lo while browsing a small world music stand in Camden Market, and I met myself 20 years in the future – a man so passionate about his music that all I could do was sit back and listen to him sell me the music.

What I got was my ears around an album (Bambay Gueej) produced by one giant of from the world music scene, Youssou N’Dour, and one from the masters of World Music production, Nick Gold. For me that album has always beent he benchmark for this wonderful artist, and since that original purchase I’ve always been an avid fan.

This album is more laid back and has less of a flamenco, brazilica sound, compared to Lamp Fall, although you do get reminders of that albums, in particular the rolling rhythms of “Sou” as featured on the new album under the name of “Dieuf Dieul”. The track “Ne Parti Pas” is one of my favourite tracks on the album as it has simplicity that I think works really well, great positive vibes and space for the Cheikh’s great voice, equally “Folly Cagni” is almost a Cheikh unplugged and very good track to finish the album up on. Don’t know if it’s me, but Cheikh seems to be sounding more and more like Horace Andy as the age catches up on him.