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Acoustic Africa

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Audio CD, September 5, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This flowingly well-sequenced collection of semi-acoustic tracks, some of which have a smoothly mainstream FM-radio feeling while others are more roots-oriented, is just the thing to unwind after a stressful workday or get the weekend off to an effervescent yet relaxed start. South African troubadour Vusi Mahlasela and Senegalese pop icon Diogal are heard to great effect, as are Congolese stars Faya Tess and Lokua Kanza, entwined in a lusciously Cuban-rumba-influenced duet. A lesser-known Cape Verdean songstress named Gabriela Mendes swings her way through a typically dance-like ditty and Dobet Gnahoré of Ivory Coast makes a similarly strong impression. A previously unreleased tune by Angelique Kidjo of Benin rounds the set out; every compilation should ideally offer something new, not just retreads, so this is definitely a good thing. Another important selling point: a portion of the proceeds from this album will be donated to Mercy Corps in support of their efforts to help victims of AIDS and the civil war in Darfur, and to Oxfam America and Oxfam Novib's "Make Trade Fair." --Christina Roden

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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sore - Diogal
  2. Mindjer Doce Mel - Eneida Marta
  3. Misahotaka Ny Akama - Rajery
  4. Sedjedo - Angelique Kidjo
  5. Vusi Mahlasela - Basimanyana
  6. Bana - Faya Tess & Lokua Kanza
  7. Mauritania - Lay Sow
  8. Tradicao - Gabriela Mendes
  9. Baro - Habib Koite
  10. Palea - Dobet Gnahore
  11. Antonia - Manecas Costa
  12. Fanta Bourama - Djelimady Tounkara

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 5, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Putumayo World Music
  • ASIN: B000GKZN92
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,795 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By derring dodette on November 1, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This new Putumayo release is an excellent introduction to the smooth and haunting melodies of the acoustic African sound. As with so many of their collections, buy this CD, pick your favorites, and follow their careers through other musical selections. Or better yet, if you still have time, catch the Acoustic Africa tour, and see Habib Koite, Vusi Mahlasela and Dobet Gnahore live!

We were lucky enough to catch this concert this past weekend in Boulder, and what an amazing experience. This was a fairly intimate venue (approximately 1000 in the full-looking event), and we were only 5 rows back from these wonderfully talented international performers.

Several songs began with a performer beginning to strum backstage, only to stroll out onto the stage singing, perhaps unaccompanied. Amazing!

This is Gnahore's introduction to American audiences, and she happily found a large number of French-speakers in the audience for her attempts at conversation. Though a woman small in stature, she belts out a huge sound, and while you can enjoy her song, "Palea" on the CD you will miss her awe-inspiring dancing if you do not see her in person.

Seeing Koite and Mahlasela in person was a huge treat, and hearing several of our favorite songs, sung by both artists was truly worth the trip. We heard "Red Song," Emtini Wababe," "Basimanyana," and the evening ended with "Pata Pata" from Vusi Mahlasela. "Cigarette Abana," "Baro," (I think) and several others from Koite were worth the trip in themselves.

The most exciting part of this concert proved to be the format - this was not structured with 3 sets, one for each artist.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By K. Hall on November 4, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This disc will appeal not only to the dedicated world music afficianado, but will serve as a splendid introduction for the novice. I cannot recommend this highly a collection of CDs that numbers in the thousands, this is truly a gem. Enjoy!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amaranth on February 5, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The last time Putumayo specifically made an acoustic African album was 2001's great "African Odyssey." Five years later,they returned in strong form with "Acoustic Africa." This album is a musical safari,journeying through the soothing acoustic sounds of Senegal,Madagascar&Cape Verde.

Diogal's "Sore" is a powerful lament opening the album,describing the plight of immigrants.Eneida Marta,from Guinea-Bissau,harmoniously encourages women to the accompaniment of the kora (African harp),calabash (gourd)&Western harp.Rajery,from Madagascar,accompanies himself powerfully on the valiha (bamboo harp);his song echoes the Indonesian roots of the Malagasy people--it blends African&Asian harmonies.Angelique Kidjo's "Sedjedo" is rousing&anthemic.If it weren't acoustic,it would be a power ballad.Laye Sow's "Mauritania" is a touching plea for peace.Gabriela Mendes' "Tradicao" is stately,a Cape Verdean morna that is almost a waltz.Habib Koite's "Baro" is a quiet love song.Manecas Costa's "Antonia" is a moving tribute to a woman in Berkeley who gave him a place to stay during one of his tours.

It's too bad I wasn't able to see the Acoustic Africa concert when it came to my town.However,when I drove back from work,I think I saw the dreadlocked Habib Koite in the upstairs green room of the local opera house.

"Acoustic Africa" is yet another astounding African compilation from Putumayo.If you enjoy acoustic or African music,this is perfect!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Ellingwood VINE VOICE on October 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This is a very nice CD with acoustic guitar music from Africa. While I prefer some of the other African CDs, this one is great to play in the car when driving and it grows on you. The music is soft and sweet.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gio on December 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I picked up this sampler - 12 tracks by 12 different musicians - at the sprawling Dussman's Book/Music store on Friedrichstrasse in formerly communist East Berlin. The selection there of African music was dauntingly huge. Even though Dussman's allows you to listen peacefully to any CD in the store, I couldn't imagine how to 'catch up' with the musical creativity of a whole continent. So I bought this sampler, which I could have easily found in a coffee shop in the States. Ah! The impatience of youth!

It's a wonderful selection. Of the twelve artists represented, I took a fancy to more than half. Then I came straight here, to the banks of the amazon, to search for the chosen favorites. Wonder of wonders, I found at least one CD from each of them. Though one of those was unavailable, the rest all featured samples. A couple, most prominently Angelique Kidjo from Benin, had multiple CDs, rave reviews, high sales ranks, and imposing lists of jazz and pop collaborators. On the down side, a couple of my choices had been misrepresented; the track on "Acoustic Africa" turned out to be atypical of their music, more authentically African and expressive than the bulk of their material.

But there were Aha! moments. The most exciting, to my ears, is Rajery (track 3) from Madagascar, who plays a tubular bamboo harp with strings made of bicycle brake cables, called a "valiha". He, or someone in his band, also sings. The lyrics are not included in this Putumayo sampler. I've ordered two of Rajery's CDs. I assume I'll have more to report after they arrive.
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