As much as I enjoy African music, I was totally unprepared for how remarkable this CD is. From the opening moments, the music sweeps you away. Cesaria Evora comes in to intone her magic and you are thereafter transported to a spiritual place of sublime beauty. Keita is regarded as one of the greatest singers ever in all of African music. With "Moffou" he has created his masterpiece.
You will find yourself returning again and again to the sinewy turns of rhythm, the percolating bass and guitar lines, the lilt of the African strings and the passionate and delicate beat of the percussion. There is so much here that is wonderful!
Keita's voice aches with entreaty, resonates with joy, and dances in celebration throughout the album. The photography and the graphics are beautiful. The musicians are first rate and seemed to have understood the wealth of this material and so bring its treasures to lustrous effect in their playing.
It is sympathetically produced. This is not a big production glossy studio effort. It is organic, yet professional. Sublime. All in all, a diamond to turn over and over in your soul.
on June 12, 2002
I just heard the new album by the great Maliean singer Salif Keita, and was hooked from the first tune. Compared to his last two offerings, Keita returns to more traditional instruments and more soulful singing. The first track Yamore, captivates the listener from the start, and it only gets better with every track. African music is diverse, powerful and very rich, and certainly Keita is one of its best representatives. It is artists such as Keita and Ismael Lo that got me into World Music few years ago and I never looked back ever since, discovering a whole new musical world, and albums like Moffu only reinforces the pleasure I get from such talents. Music after all is one meduim that transcends cultures, borders, and faiths, and unite people like no other art form can.
Buy this CD, sit down, relax and let the sounds of Africa transport you away..
If you're reading this review, you will probably know that Salif Keita is Mali's most successful and internationally recognised composer/musician/singer with a history of creating thoughtful, groundbreaking and memorable music. He is incidentally a direct descendant of Mali's royal family, had to fight traditional taboos to become a musician and is, to boot, an African albino about whom many superstitions exist throughout the continent. Though the man has had an interesting and not always easy life, through his music he has finally become an icon in Mali and won over many international listeners from complete ignorance of West-African produced music to becoming avid devotees - including this reviewer.
Great artists often produce one outstanding, seminal work in a long career that stands out from the rest. For Salif Keita, his masterpiece is "Moffou".
On "Moffou" Keita mixes traditional African "griot" musicians (like Malian guitarists Kante Manfile and Djelly Kouyate) with Paris-based jazz and classical musicians to create haunting, melodious and soulful music bursting with life and energy. Believe it, the result is something really special.
"Yamore", the opening song, is an instant hit. With an improbable but inspired French accordion driving the rhythm, Keita's soulful and arresting tenor carries the melody over a tight, joyous female chorus line with rising and falling cascades to produce a synthesis nothing short of magical. I recently played this for someone who had never heard anything by Salif Keita, and she listened to it over and again on a loop for a whole week: love at the first bar.
Keita is an excellent guitarist himself, and some of the most memorable numbers on "Moffou" like the second song "Iniagige" for example, showcase SK with nothing but his acoustic guitar and haunting vocal singing from the heart: beautiful, simple, sublime.
Strong African rhythms, powerful choral vocals, unexpected musical arrangements and first class production values characterise the album and make for a rare and memorable listening experience. Even against all Keita's history of innovative and quality musical output, I never heard anything quite like this. It's a one-off, an instant classic, far more than the sum of its diverse and excellent parts.
If you have room for only one of Keita's albums in your collection, make it this one (if you have room for two, consider "Soro" for the second). It's a corker, a musician's album, one for serious music lovers and an all-time great.
on January 21, 2003
This album is simply breathtaking. I've been a longtime fan of Salif Keita's music and IMHO his last album missed the very high standards he had set for himself. It's as if this album was made to remind some of his fans, like myself, that the experiment was over. MOFFOU does not seem to want to present that cross over pop appeal that PAPA attempted. The inspiration for this CD seems to come from Salif Keita's inner soul and is purely African. You can hear it in his voice. When you close your eyes and listen to the music, it's almost transcendental and takes you to a place where things are very uncomplicated and, amazingly enough, you do not need to understand what he is saying. This is a must have.
on June 12, 2004
With a voice both weary and childlike, Salif Keita is a man for all seasons. Need to romance that special someone? Want to get blind drunk on Boone's Farm in a lonely room? Inviting some folks over for dinner or drinks? This is the perfect record - the production sparkles, the tempos are varied and interesting, and Clear Channel wouldn't play it in 10,000 years.
on February 3, 2015
Another wonderful piece of work by the artist. Wonderful music from start to finish. No accounting for taste but after "Amen" I find myself listening to this release most often. Recommended. Ambient, melodic, rhythmic, engaging, beautiful listening.
on November 29, 2009
Encountering Salif Keita's music has been one of life's "happy accidents" for me. I first heard the hauntingly beautiful "Yamore" on an internet radio station and fell in love; fortunately, it looped through its playlist enough that I was able to eventually take note of the artist name - and the rest is history.
This is genuinely one of those albums you'll force your friends to listen to - and give to your loved ones. Fantastically talented. Soulful and enriching.
For me, this album transcends merely being part of my "world music" collection - and is simply one of the very best albums I own.