Mamani Keita – Yelema

Funky, addictive utterly Malian and with a kick like snorting home-made chilli sauce. This is the CD you are going to get sick of copying for your mates this summer


Had ‘Mali Denou’ not turned up on a French cultural CD sampler of all places at the end of last year, I would have missed this release. Instead I tracked down the album that came out last summer because I was so impressed with its uplifting beats, simple guitar and horn riffs (think Mr Scruff) led astray by the ever-so-slightly nasal but powerful voice of Mamani Keita chanting the intoxicatingly repetitive refrain of the song that turns out to be a song of thanks for the wonderful children of Mali (and the wonderful policemen, farmers, fishermen and game wardens that make it such a great place to live). This track in particular bears the hallmarks of No Normat! Label-mate Nicolas Repac.
Its twin track is the opener on the CD, ‘Dje Kafo’. It shares the repetitive but addictive vocal style, this time suggesting a sit-down discussion to solve family differences. In Mali, the sit-down discussion has reached an art form that everyone else could learn from and now it has its own song.
This pairing of warm West African sounds and grooves composed of repeated musical and vocal hooks works incredibly well. Off-kilter jazz riffs and electronica varies the diet and the pace lifts and falls throughout the dozen tracks aiming it a very satisfying album experience. Outstanding.

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