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.
Hailing from the north of Mali, and imbued with the Songhai culture dear to Ali Farka Touré, the singer Aminata Wassidjé Traoré has made a name for herself on the local music scene while attracting the attention of some enlightened foreigners. Her first album Tamala has in fact just been released on the international market.
The death of Nelson Mandela has plunged even the music world into mourning. The South African figurehead was one of the rare personalities to have rallied artists the world over in the name of a cause following his long political imprisonment during apartheid.
As winner of this year’s RFI Discoveries Award with a first solo album entitled AfrikanKouleurs, the Burkinabe Smarty has emerged as a key figure in African rap after ten years performing in the duo Yeleen.
To mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of their group made up of two families, the Gipsy Kings have released a new album entitled Savor Flamenco, offering a familiar energetic cocktail of guitar work and vocals.
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.
With a dense, intense 43-minute CD, Jupiter Bokondji and his group Okwess International assume the top African music position that should have been theirs years ago. Hotel Univers exudes all the energy of the group’s hometown, Kinshasa, where they’ve managed to overcome local difficulties and produce a sound light years away from the repertoires of contemporary Congolese music stars like Koffi Olomide and Fally Ipupa. A tonic.
Fed-up with the phony playback performances of stars like Justin Bieber, Beyonce and Madonna, the Cameroonian Richard Bona champions authentic music on his new album Bonafied, while working on future collections by Lauryn Hill and Stevie Wonder. He may be a wizard on the bass and have music running through his veins, but whatever you do, don’t ask him to change a light bulb.
Femi’s new album, No Place For My Dream, flies the flag for afrobeat, which his father Fela made popular on the international scene. Fela’s heir knows the role that France has played in the development of his career.
It’s the year of Édith Piaf. A whole range of events have been planned to commemorate fifty years since the legendary singer’s death. The United States, for example, has launched itself into some particularly sumptuous celebrations.