The call of the groove was so strong and persistent that Sia Tolno finally listened to it. On her fourth album, African Woman, put together with afrobeat veteran Tony Allen, the Guinean winner of RFI’s Prix Découverte 2011 dares to tackle a male musical stronghold.
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.
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.
Angélique Kidjo is one of the world’s great voices. The artist with Beninese roots has rubbed shoulders with some of the greats, like Aretha Franklin, Desmond Tutu, Alicia Key, and Obama at his inauguration as President.