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Ma Ya

35 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 26, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

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Malian singer Habib Koite and his band Bamada serve up 12 songs with a gentle acoustic guitar-led swing, reminiscent as much of African troubadours like Henri Dikongue as his well-known native counterparts like Salif Keita. There is certainly a definite Malian lilt to his delivery as well as in the instrumentation and straightforward arrangements, and at times he displays the same bluesy penchant as Ali Farka Toure, albeit less stridently. Koite tilts toward a very contemporary, almost Western interpretation of his spiritual songs, with an overall folksiness softening the unmistakable African roots of his music. The result is a highly textured airy excursion that makes, with his dusty, soulful vocals, a highly appealing album of great introspective sincerity. --Derek Rath


1. Wassive
2. Ma Ya
3. Bitile
4. Sirata
5. Foro Bana
6. Sarayama
7. Kumbin
8. Mara Kaso
9. Pula Ku
10. Komine
11. I Mada
12. Mansane Cisse

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 26, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Putumayo World Music
  • ASIN: B00000GWYH
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,770 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Chris Fung on December 29, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Habib Koite is the undisputed master musician of modern West African music. This is of course a value judgement, but no other contemporary performer has come so close to capturing the essence of classical instrumental musical of the Manding people alongside an undeniably accessible sensibility for Western melodic structure. By paring down the sound of his band, and using traditional arrangements, he has produced a smooth, warm sound that grooves like a python or a leopard out for a stroll. Simply put, Habib tears it up!
While a former generation of West African stars (notably Youssou N'Dour from Senegal and greats such as Salif Keita and Oumou Sangare from Mali)have approached popular music from a vocal standpoint, Habib (perhaps in a similar fashion to Ali Farka Toure) has chosen to emphasize the instrumental approach and in particular the tradition of plucked stringed instruments such as the guitar-like ngoni and the 21-string kora.
What seperates his music from more traditional offerings is the finesse of the arrangements (from a western musical perspective) which sacrifices none of the dynamic and rhythmic force of traditional Manding music but yet also enables a wonderfully coherent and supple melodic structure to emerge from the music. In this, he is aided by the other musicians of Bamada (virtuoso side men all), who contribute solos, riffs and solid support in an explicitly jazz-band fashion. One consequence of this is that Habib's live concerts follow a very jazz-like format with thematic statements, choruses, individual solos and corresponding applause from the audience.
As an avowed traditionalist, my own personal favorites occur when sparse but judiciously placed rhythmic motifs punctuate the wonderful flow of the music.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Walter in Austin on January 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I can't say enough about this wonderful record. I buy a lot of African music, but this one really stands out. Very contemporary and accessible, but thoroughly African. Outstanding, understated musicianship throughout--particularly Koite's excellent guitar playing. I went to WOMAD USA in Seattle last summer, all the way from Texas, primarily to see Koite, and was not disappointed. His shy, engaging manner captured the crowd at once and held them spell-bound throughout the show. This is a must-buy albumn, and a must-see show (here's hoping he'll tour the US more on his own).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joanneva12a on February 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I am new to Habib Koite's music but now I am hooked. From the first times I listened it just made me feel good like sitting in a big oversized comfortable couch. I can't understand the lyrics but the music and his voice carry me off somewhere to another place and time. His voice ripples over the smooth acoustics and laid back rhythms consisting of a blend of blues, jazz and Malian melodies. A Putumayo collaboration, the engineering acoustics on this CD are first rate.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In the interest of full disclosure, I only discovered this artist while watching an A&E adaption of William Boyd's book, Armadillo. I spent the entire movie wondering where did the wonderful music come from and later discovered Habib Koite on a list of music from the music.
I immediately bought the disk and think it is outstanding. It flows extremely well, is interesting without being instrusive and I will probably be listening to it for years to come.
I highly recommend it to anyone who likes unusual music, or just wants to get into modern African music. 5 big stars.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Grado on September 30, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I don't know that much about African music so I won't go into revieving this technically.
A friend of mine though is an expert when it comes to it. He's Djing and selling African Music all days long. He once played this CD for me and i was hooked at once and refused to let him turn it off until it had ended.
This album just breaths Africa. And not a single track is bad.
It's one of those CD's that makes your backbone shiver and makes you happy when you are down.
The singer have a voice given by god and the musicians are tight as nothing else.
"Ma Ya" is one of the top-jewels in my cd-collection and I can highly recommend it to anyone that appreciates African music. And everyone else for that matter.
Five shining stars without a doubt!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "karamella365" on December 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This CD has global appeal! I am so highly impressed and pleased with the consistancy of quality in each track. I must say I was surprised. Seemingly, it is in fact rare to find such outstanding top quailty consistancy in music. I have let a variety of very selective, non-african music listeners ( from rock to hip-hop lovers)listen to this and Oliver Mt , and these two outstanding musicans have recieved nothing but appreciation for the sounds and craftmanship of these Cds. This is great for the african music lover and for those who are still testing the water.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I have been listening to African music in general, and Malian music in particular, for a number of years now. I simply love this C.D. It has been in my car's C.D. tray for months now. It's my perfect remedy to the road congestion blues. It transports you a soulful place with rhythmic and sweet music. The messages and music emanating from Mali are truly impressive. Habib Koite, like Oumou Sangare, is a great place to start in appreciating this sound.
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