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Rough Guide to African Blues
     

The Rough Guide to African Blues

 
It is common knowledge that the origin of the blues lies in West Africa, and that it was carried to America by slaves. The Rough Guide to African Blues explores the blues in its native setting, as it were, in mostly acoustic settings, although the vintage sounds of Ayaléw Mèsfin & Black Lion Band from Ethiopia add a big-band touch (whether they really qualify

Overview

It is common knowledge that the origin of the blues lies in West Africa, and that it was carried to America by slaves. The Rough Guide to African Blues explores the blues in its native setting, as it were, in mostly acoustic settings, although the vintage sounds of Ayaléw Mèsfin & Black Lion Band from Ethiopia add a big-band touch (whether they really qualify as blues is perhaps debatable). One of the most authentic-sounding pieces combines American Corey Harris with the late Malian guitar legend Ali Farka Touré (who was a fan of John Lee Hooker). But Afel Bocoum, Boubacar Traoré, and Nuru Kane all get to the heart of the blues, while Mariem Hassan and Etran Finatawa bring more electricity, somewhat closer to the music of Tinariwen, the hottest thing in desert blues, who are surprisingly not represented here. Bob Brozman teams with Djeli Moussa Diawara for an interesting African take on a Skip James song, combining guitar with the kora harp very successfully. Whether Sudan's Rasha falls into the equation is also dubious -- there's more than a touch of Sade in her sound, but Daby Balde and Baaba Maal bring it all back home in excellent fashion. So what to make of this compilation? Like the curate's egg, it's good in parts, a sampling of African blues, but also a bit beyond. It would have been good to have had Ali Farka Touré alone, and this isn't as complete as it might have been; still, it forms a more than reasonable introduction.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/08/2007
Label:
World Music Network
UPC:
0605633118629
catalogNumber:
1186

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