Bassekou Kouy­ate & Ngoni Ba

★★★★ Miri OUT HERE. CD/DL/LP

Mojo (UK) - - World -

Back to ba­sics for Mali’s ngoni master.

AFTER TWO al­bums of scuzzed-up dis­tor­tion be­fit­ting any Sub Pop alum­nus, Bassekou Kouy­ate dis­penses with trick­ery and re­turns to his stu­dio in Mali to think about (the ti­tle track trans­lates as ‘contemplation’) the state of his na­tion. With his wife, Ami Sacko, on vo­cals and his son, Madou, on bass ngoni, he laments the prob­lems cur­rently tear­ing the coun­try apart (war, money, jeal­ousy) and cher­ishes what is worth hold­ing on to; on Yakare, he pays trib­ute to his re­cently de­ceased mother; Habib Koite and Afel Bo­coum guest, as if to re­mind the star about his roots, while oth­ers (Michael League, Dom Fle­mons) hint at how far he has trav­elled since he first played Europe, 30 years ago. In 2019 terms, then, it’s a Vil­lage Green Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety for peo­ple whose vil­lage is on the banks of the (alarm­ingly di­min­ished) Niger river.

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