Saturday, February 14, 2009

MALICK PATHE SOW - Maayo Men (Muziekpublique)

This is an album of all-acoustic Senegalese music by the hoddu (lute) playing Fula and former member of Baaba Maal's Dande Lenol band. There's some clue to that rocking past on the upbeat mbalax of Abdou Aziz Daabax, although the rest of the album is more nuanced, a nicely varied mix of straightforward modern acoustic ballads and mid-tempo tunes in the mould of Daby Touré. There's a more traditional approach to Malick, though, one that utilises hoddu, kora, acoustic guitar, njarka violin, some good wholesome vocals and the influence of the rolling groove of Manding music from neighbouring Mali. Other highlights on an album full of seductive melodies and top-class musicianship are Malick’s intricate acoustic guitar work on the jaunty opener Jeeri Bona and when alone accompanying himself on the hoddu on Sama. Kora player Bao lights up three contributions, and percussionist Octave maintains metronomic coherence throughout on what is a very catchy, agreeably arranged set of tunes. All that's really missing is a decent package to put it in. What looks like an admirable attempt to use recycled cardboard for the CD sleeve proves to be counter-productive as regular handling leads to the need for an environmentally unfriendly plastic replacement. There must be a green middle ground!

Muziek Publique

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