Despite being imbued with the influence of current events and their tragic character, Now, the fifth album by the Central African musician Bibi Tanga, is not just a work of circumstance. Nor is it a simple afro-funk album. Beyond words and labels, the Banui-born singer-bass player who now lives in France succeeds in channelling and distilling his influences.
On the cover of A Long Way to the Beginning, his third album, Seun Anikulapo Kuti brandishes a raised fist in a sign of revolt, a fist whose silhouette evokes Africa, two themes dear to his Black President father, who passed away in 1997 from AIDS, two themes he combines in afrobeat’s future.
Up until now, Mamani Keita’s studio work had always involved an Afro-electro twosome that had almost become her trademark. But for her fourth album, Kanou, the Malian singer has taken the driver’s seat and set off in an acoustic direction.
Re-releasing old tunes has been all the rage over the last few years, but the compilation Haïti Direct is the first big project to focus on digging out the groups behind compas music. This zappy 135-minute digest comprises 30 songs dating from 1960 to 1978.
After giving us a taste of Brazil in 2008, and along with an Indian-inspired collection out now, French group Deep Forest serve up their vision of African world music with a new album, Deep Africa, including participation from artists like Wasis Diop from Senegal and the Congolese, Lokua Kanza.
Two years after winning the RFI Découvertes award, Ugandan singer Maurice Kirya unveils the expression of his artistic musings with The Book of Kirya, a soul album bearing snippets of Africa.
Salif Keïta’s new album, Talé, put together with Gotan Project’s Philippe Cohen-Solal in Bamako, moves away from a pure “club” sound and takes its listeners into electro lands. RFI Musique spoke with the Malian musician.
The Malian twosome Amadou & Mariam are back with a new album, Folila. With its roots firmly planted in Mali, the collection takes added inspiration from some of the couple’s international alliances, and in particular Français Bertrand Cantat.
There are times when you need a helping hand to reach a new milestone. To put together his fourth album, Nimissa, Guinean singer and musician Ba Cissoko was assisted by reputed producer Philippe Eidel, who has managed to draw out each song’s potential and assure some ship-shape production.
As well as playing with an array of Mali’s contemporary music-makers, Makan Badjé Tounkara has carved out a space to share his own stories, which he narrates under his name in a second album, Sodjan. His academic yet modern playing of the ngoni, the string instrument played at the royal court for centuries, leads him irresistibly into the land of the blues.