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My, how Bassekou Kouyate has grown since his solo debut. Touring with several big Western acts and alone has certainly helped, but there's a real sense of assurance and outright confidence about this disc, as he's moved from a fairly raw sense of desert blues -- unusual inasmuch as it was all played on ngoni lutes -- to something that's far more extroverted, and at times, pure rock & roll as he looses off solos that are gratifyingly electric (even with a mild touch of wah-wah here and there). Ngoni Ba has fully gelled as a group, and the guests add to the experience, especially such eminences as Toumani Diabaté (who adds his ethereal kora to two tracks) or Vieux Farke Touré, who plays a subordinate role on the two cuts where he appears. Many of the lead vocals are handled by Kouyate's wife, Amy Sacko, who is earthy and powerful, but Kouyate himself is the star of the show, always in control, and with true star presence throughout. While sounding completely West African, this is an album that draws on Western flourishes in a way that can make it very accessible to ears that wouldn't normally listen closely to African music. That -- along with the superb music it contains -- makes it a very important disc indeed.
Performance CreditsBassekou Kouyate Primary Artist,Ngoni
Toumani Diabaté Kora,Guest Appearance
Kassé-Mady Diabaté Vocals,Guest Appearance
Andra Kouyate Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Zoumana Tereta Vocals
Vieux Farka Touré Electric Guitar,Guest Appearance
Amy Sacko Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Mah Soumano Choir, Chorus
Dramane Ze Konate Vocals
Technical CreditsJerry Boys Producer,Engineer
Eric Brown Music Business Affairs
Lucy Duran Producer,Liner Notes
Dusty Summers Art Direction,Cover Design
Jay Rutledge Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Bassekou Kouyate is an amazing African artist that brings emotional talent alive in his album, I Speak Fula. It is a must have. Hit play on your CD player; put your legs up and enjoy the smooth notes that Mr. Kouyate brings alive.