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From the ethereal opening notes of balafon musician Aly Keita's album to the bass-driven brass-band extravaganza of the final showdown track, this is music of exceptional quality and soul. Who knew that the humble African wooden xylophone could be so intricate, delicate, and powerful in equal measures? Much of the album's strength lies in its supporting cast, although Keita is talented enough to let these stellar musicians have their space without letting the reins go. Sometimes leading, sometimes providing a mellow backdrop, the woody notes of the balafon jostle among the bass, drums and guitar of the band, the heavenly voice of fellow Ivorian Dobet Gnahoré and the relentlessly lively brass notes of the Ahouandjinou brothers on jazzy, upbeat numbers. 'Made in CFPM, a song arranged at a music training centre in the desert country of Niger where the balafon was once banned by the country's Islamic regime, is a soaring highlight and Maloya, brash and plentiful, is a heart-quickening track which will make you wonder how many hands are attacking Keita's resounding keys. Even if you think the balafon isn't your thing, this is an album that caters to all tastes, and in fine style.

 

Rose Skelton for the "Songline"

Aly Keïta AKWABA INISÉNE

SKU: 364215376135191
€15.00Price
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