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M'Bemba

Salif Keita

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Album Review

The Grammy nominated West African artist, Salif Keita, whose voice The Washington Post once declared as "one other mortals can only aspire to" returned after many years to Bamako, Mali to record M'Bemba, a remarkable, multifaceted collection which beautifully blends native choirs (comprised of his foster sisters), rolling hypnotic guitars, happily dancing percussion, and such indigenous instruments as ngoni lute and kora. These evoke the memory of Keita's ancestor, Sundiata Keita, the warrior king who founded the Mandingo Empire in the 13th century. Over the course of an hour, Keita — whose globally successful 35-year career has somewhat offset the hardships he's faced in his homeland being an albino and a musician — weaves a true tapestry of all of his favorite global influences. These include rock, soul, French chanson, and Afro-Cuban rhythms, all stirred up around his deep, guttural vocals, echoing chants, the seductive, jangling guitars, and a variety of earthy grooves. On the gentler reflections, like the opening track "Bobo," and the sweet, anthemic title track (enhanced by the female chorus), there's a hauntingly beautiful sense of history mixed with struggle and, ultimately, optimism. While the album will mostly be enjoyed by fans of real-deal African music, newcomers will hopefully be inspired to begin mining Keita's rich history as both a musician and a survivor.

Customer Reviews

Great

This is another gem from one of the few artists out of Africa whose voice embodies the suffering and thankfully the hope and dynamism of a resilient continent. The backing vocals are as fresh as in Soro and Keita's voice in Dery led by one if not the best guitarist of his generation and an old accomplice of Salif is as powerful as in Mandjou.The drums and vocals in Calculer are mesmerising Salif invites us to discover African History. Don't wait!!!

AFRICAN GEM

THIS ALBUM HAS ALL THE BLENDS OF MODERN WESTERN MUSICAL PIECES BUT SALIF'S POWERFUL VOICE JUST ECHOES THE DEEP AFRICAN, NATURAL AND GOD GIVEN TALENT WHICH THIS MAN WAS ANOINTED WITH.THE BACKGROUND SOUNDS OF WOMEN IS NOTHING BUT AN ABSOLUTE PLEASURE TO LISTEN TO.HIS COLLABORATION WITH BUJU PRODUCED A SURPRISINGLY A VERY BEAUTIFUL PIECE WHICH NOONE WOULD HAVE EXPECTED FROM THESE UNLIKE CHARACTERS FROM A DIFFERENT GENRE AND GENERATION.THIS ALBUM IS AN ABSOLUTE PLEASURE TO LISTEN TO

Biography

Born: 1949 in Djoliba, Mali

Genre: World

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Salif Keita gave up a lot to pursue his dreams of a career in music. Born to royal lineage, with ancestral roots going back to Soundjata Keita, the founder of the Malian Empire in 1240, Keita was disowned by his father after announcing his plans to play music. Keita's dreams, however, were too strong to be shattered. Moving to the capitol city of Bamako in 1967, he was soon playing in nightclubs with one of his brothers. Within two years, he was invited to join the Rail Band. A popular, government-sponsored...
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M'Bemba, Salif Keita
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