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Afriki

Habib Koité

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Album Review

In the six years since Mali's Habib Koite released his last new studio album, he developed a reputation in the West as one of his country's greatest cultural exports. On Afriki, Koite has fine-tuned his carefully manicured approach to melodic, acoustic-based songs of deep personal and global meaning. Always an engaging singer and songwriter, Koite's guitar is on equal footing here; his playing and the overall musicianship of his band, Bamada, outshines anything they offered in their previous outings. Koite exhibits a newfound sensitivity in his playing, always intricate, evocative, rhythmic and moving. Some of the instrumental work is reminiscent of the folk guitar styles of the '60s, but on tracks like the exquisite "N'Teri," a simple song of thanks, Koite brings in lush orchestration and background vocalists, as well as an array of native African instruments such as the balofon and n'goni. Other tracks, among them the album-opening "Namania" and "Africa" (with horns arranged by James Brown veteran Pee Wee Ellis), a song calling for African self-reliance, apply Koite's guitar, soulful voice and the gap-filling backup singers to a more polyrhythmic setting. "Fimani" reunites Mali with the blues it spawned, while the closing "Titati" is a solo showcase for Koite's lone (but never lonesome) guitar. Some may say that the key to Koite's escalating popularity lies in an eagerness to look outside of Mali for ideas to incorporate with his own; that may be so, but that's not such a bad thing at all if the result is an uplifting, empowering world music that truly does bring together so much of the world, in such a warm and enchanting way.

Customer Reviews

Serenity

I don't understand a word of what is being said, but this is great music! If you are looking for something that is soothing, but still exciting then this is it. If you love guitar, then this is a great choice!

Buy this album

This album is beautiful from start to finish. The rythyms and guitar is magical to listen to.

Biography

Born: 1958 in Mali

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

The West African country of Mali has produced some great musicians. But as they age, people have wondered who'll step forward from the next generation. The big answer to that seems to be Habib Koité, who comes from the Khassonké griot tradition, that's the hereditary caste of musicians, but whose eyes are firmly on the future. Born in 1958, his lineage made music a part of his life and it was in order to accompany his mother's singing that he taught himself to play guitar, showing enough ability...
Full bio
Afriki, Habib Koité
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: World, Music, Afro-Pop, Afro-Beat
  • Released: Sep 10, 2007

Customer Ratings

Contemporaries