world music / african music
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.
Thirty years of hassle have done nothing to wear down the convictions of Congolese musician Jupiter as he prepares to bring out Hotel Univers – an album that rings like a coming of age. Portrait of an artist.
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.
Togolese hip hop
Histoires d'un continent, the first solo album by YaoBobby tells stories of the continent close to his heart, Africa. The Togolese rapper has produced an album in his image, comprising 12 tracks that blend the limpid sound of kora with a determined flow. Despite the revolutionary tone of his lyrics, our meeting in Lomé revealed a calm rapper committed to the cause.
For the second year in a row, Togolese singer King Mensah has picked Lomé’s Kégué Stadium to give a concert to his fans on the last Sunday of the year. The perfect opportunity to celebrate a career spanning fifteen years.
The “barefoot diva” died on Saturday 17 December at the age of 70. Cesaria Evora, the famous Cape Verdean singer, had been suffering from health problems that had obliged her to put a stop to her career three months ago. Her homeland archipelago and numerous fans are mourning a distinctive artist who introduced the morna, or “Cape Verdean blues” to the whole world.
Encouraged by the warm reception to his album Ndam, Omar Pene has indulged in more acoustic creation with Ndayaan. The fifty-something Dakarois singer dug through his “attic” full of old tracks and unearthed the original spirit of Super Diamono, the band that is now an institution on the Senegalese music scene.
With The One & The Many, Cameroonian one-man orchestra Muntu Valdo has concocted some powerful “Sawa Blues” that are ripe with bossa, soul and jazz and convey a captivating, metaphysical edge.
The emblematic music from southern and central Cameroon, bikutsi, gained huge popularity in the 1980s, when pioneering groups like Les Têtes Brulées added electric guitar work and made the genre popular throughout their homeland and even overseas. RFI took a stroll round Yaoundé, the country’s capital, to take a look at the new bikutsi scene in Cameroon.
The prolific artist Franco, who died in 1989, is still a central figure in Congolese music. The compilation Guitar Hero pays tribute to the rumba giant with an unusual collection of songs remastered with debateable dexterity.