10 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

An example of how opposites attract, Faya features the U.S.-born/England-based Driscoll and the Guinea–born Kouyate. Although one spoke French and the other English, the two came together at a festival in 2010 and quickly realized they were kindred spirits who shared a love of hip-hop and reggae. Driscoll acquits himself well throughout with his spitfire raps, soulful singing, and rhythmic acoustic guitar. But the revelation is Kouyate, who not only sings in French and his native Susu but also plays kora (a nylon-string African harp) through an arsenal of effects with such innovation that he’s drawn comparisons to Jimi Hendrix (“Tanama”). On an album filled with socially conscious themes, the two skillfully weave together ideas that are detailed but broad. “Passport,” for example, speaks of both the fragmentation of the African continent and the chilly reception African visitors often receive in the U.S. Elsewhere the music moves from gritty African rock (“Zion” and the standout “Faya”) to reggae (the “Faya” remix, “Birnakely”) to hip-hop (“Wonamati” and “New York”).

EDITORS’ NOTES

An example of how opposites attract, Faya features the U.S.-born/England-based Driscoll and the Guinea–born Kouyate. Although one spoke French and the other English, the two came together at a festival in 2010 and quickly realized they were kindred spirits who shared a love of hip-hop and reggae. Driscoll acquits himself well throughout with his spitfire raps, soulful singing, and rhythmic acoustic guitar. But the revelation is Kouyate, who not only sings in French and his native Susu but also plays kora (a nylon-string African harp) through an arsenal of effects with such innovation that he’s drawn comparisons to Jimi Hendrix (“Tanama”). On an album filled with socially conscious themes, the two skillfully weave together ideas that are detailed but broad. “Passport,” for example, speaks of both the fragmentation of the African continent and the chilly reception African visitors often receive in the U.S. Elsewhere the music moves from gritty African rock (“Zion” and the standout “Faya”) to reggae (the “Faya” remix, “Birnakely”) to hip-hop (“Wonamati” and “New York”).

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