The Original Sound of Mali (Limited Gatefold)
Mr Bongo Records
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Mali's musical culture has thus far not been celebrated in the same way as, say, Nigerian, Ghanaian or Ethiopian music, but as this excellent collection from Mr Bongo proves, the country has produced just as many cross-cultural classics as any other African nation.
The 13 tracks stretched out across this double, blue vinyl LP provide a vibrant and colourful snapshot of Malian sounds of the sixties, seventies and eighties, flitting between organ-heavy psych-funk (Idrissa Soumaoro et L'eclipse De L'ija's 'Nissodia', bustling Afro-funk ('Mouodilo' by Rail Band), bluesy riffs on tropical dance styles (Les Ambassadeurs Du Motel De Bamako's 'M'bouram-mousso', Sorry Bamba's glistening and attractive 'Yayaroba') and, as the set unfolds, synth and drum machine-powered 1980s classics (Zani Diabate Et Le Super Djata Band's 'Fadingna Kouma'). In a word: superb.