Fenfo 8/10

UNCUT - - New Albums - JOHN LeWIS

Long-awaited sopho­more al­bum from Malian singer and ac­tress

Af­ter a fine 2011 de­but and some high-pro­file col­lab­o­ra­tions (Her­bie Han­cock, Da­mon Al­barn, Bobby Wo­mack, David Crosby and Snarky Puppy), this Malian ac­tress and so­cial ac­tivist fi­nally re­turns, this time helmed by French odd­ball Matthieu “M” Che­did. He pushes her suc­ces­sively in myr­iad direc­tions: the slug­gish desert rock of the ti­tle track, the pul­sat­ing Afro-disco of “Kanou Dan Yen”, the shim­mer­ing Bill Withers-style folk funk of “Negue Negue”, or the up­tempo Coke-ad­vert pop of “Bonya”. She’s some­times hampered by a paucity of chords, but Diawara’s voice is a sup­ple and en­chant­ing in­stru­ment, and her ac­com­plices (in par­tic­u­lar kora player Sidiki Di­a­baté) sub­lime.

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