MORY KANTÉ:

Sabou

Riverboat Records/World Music Network

 

After his international breakthrough in 1988, Mory Kante has frequently placed himself in the mainstream of afropop. But with his new acoustic record he takes a big leap straight down to his griot roots, with a semi-acoustic bass (sometimes replacing the African bolon) and acoustic guitar as only Western instruments.

We find a fantastic xx, at the same time crisp and rich, full of intense voices, a network of rhythms and the beautiful sounds of kora and ballafon. Here are both dancefloor tracks and more cool beats, but all songs are strong enough to deserve concentrated listening, preferrably in headphones, making that exquisite mosaďc threedimensional

Dominating positions are played by talking drums and, not least, by these fantastic ballafones, played partially by Mory himself. He also plays the kora, bass, guitar, calebass and a lot of other percussion instruments. Through the whole record female voices are soaring, singing much more than just backup vocals.
A semi-acoustic concert in Rotterdam gave him the idea to make this record, and it’s very fortunate that he finally dared to take one step away from that more commercial route. World musicians nearly always balance on a thin line between the pure ethnic and what is considered easy to sell, but Mory Kanté has such a strong name that he can afford to continue making these genuine sounds. And he should have good chances to retrieve those listeners who have found his latest records a bit too plain.

 

Annika Westman

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