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Album Review

Daby Toure, formerly a member of the band Toure Toure (his father was a member of Toure Kunda), grew up in Mauritania, Mali, and Senegal, but it's Western music that's formed him, from Dire Straits to Michael Jackson. But don't think he has no roots. There's a pan-West African sensibility running through his solo debut. He's an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, playing virtually everything on the record, with picked guitar the main instrument behind his soaring, airy vocals. There's an immediate warmth to his style, with layered vocals, and subtle keyboard work and programming from Cyrille Dufay, who provides an understated backup to Toure. But while his writing and playing are excellent, it's Toure's voice which is the stunner here. Reminiscent of Baaba Maal or Salif Keita, he can climb effortlessly through the octaves. And even though the lyrics aren't in English, he's enough of an artist to put across a sensibility, as on the lovely "Mi Wawa." His sense of home is apparent throughout, but not in a homesick manner, although he's lived in Paris for many years. It's simply who he is. On the basis of this, a record that's decidedly African but with a wide Western appeal, Daby Toure has the makings of a major star.

Diam, Daby Touré
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