Nuru Kane has already caused a stir on the concert circuit, following an attention-grabbing appearance at Mali's Festival in the Desert in 2004 by achieving the almost impossible feat of silencing the chattering classes in Momo's Kemia Bar in London.
On the evidence of this fascinating (if a tad over-long) collection, it's easy to see why. Kane builds up sparse, atmospheric songs of praise and social issues from the scratchy sound of the guimbri (three-stringed acoustic bass) with oud, ngoni, acoustic guitar and percussive accompaniment.
The tunes don't not so much grab as gnaw away at the listener, which is appropriate given Kane's exposure to the trance-like gnawa music of Morocco, evident throughout a series of relaxed and spontaneous recordings.
There's nothing showy about Nuru's singing either - his voice is communicative and clear with a blues lilt, particularly on Djoloff, Djoloff, which is one of a handful of tracks that feature producer Martin Swan's beautifully mournful violin playing. It's there again on the haunting ballad, Talibe. The angry, up-tempo Colère will appeal to those who might wonder what an acoustic Tinariwen would sound like, with oud and bass competing for attention with hand-claps and call-and-response vocals.
The epic concert favourite Mami brings a hugely promising début release to an appropriately engaging end.