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Sya Original recording reissued

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, June 4, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Many world music fans will recall Issa Bagayogo's Timbuktu, the Malian artist's stateside debut. However, Bagayogo first struck gold on Sya, originally released in 1998 to great acclaim in Europe and Mali. It's on Sya that Bagayogo, guitarist Moussa Kone, and programmer Yves Wernert first infused traditional Malian music with electronic beats and other technological production techniques. Creating a more unobtrusive backing than would be heard on Timbuktu, Wernert's programming on Sya not only updated the traditional music, but did so without overshadowing the hypnotic and subtle acoustic strings and percussion. Listeners can hear the timbre of Bagayogo's remarkably expressive kamele n'goni (a small, six-stringed, lute-like instrument) playing as he transitions from low, earthy, fuzzy notes to high clear notes that have the delicacy of acoustic guitar. Perhaps it was the initial rush of this first collaboration that made it so good, but Sya is an even more compelling, and more subtle, listen than the still very fine Timbuktu. --Tad Hendrickson
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 4, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 1999
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Six Degrees
  • ASIN: B000067F8I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,092 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"SYA" may be the first recording to pair the kamalengoni, the signature harp used in Malian Wasulu music, with electronic dance rhythms. It's a magical combination, and the trance-like repetitive riffs that characterize the Wasulu sound lend themselves well to techno stylings. Not bad, considering that it's coming from a guy who was driving a Bamako minibus when this album came out.
The title track has one of the best hooks you'll hear in recent Malian pop music--just four unforgettable beats. In a radical break from typical Malian pop, Bagayogo's French producer/arranger puts all kinds of ambient sounds (birds chirping, a woman sighing) in the mix. It's languid, lovely, and hard to get out of your head, which is a very good thing.
My only criticism of "SYA" is that it's just a little uneven. There are some memorable tracks like the title cut, and then there are others that are ho-hum. But overall I think this album merits a listen, whether you are an aficianado of Malian music or a techno-phile searching for new offshoots of the genre (and perhaps disappointed with Six Degrees' "Frikyiwa" discs). Wherever you are, Mr. Bagayogo, I hope you've quit your day job and moved into making this kind of music full-time.
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By A Customer on January 31, 2000
Format: Audio CD
When I first heard a couple tracks from Sya on the radio, I was immediately hooked. This CD has a great sound, mixing traditional African music with rythmic techo samples. I enjoy both forms of music, and this album is accessible to fans of either genre. The artist, Issa, is a self made musician from Mali who came from very poor family. There is an interesting story in the liner notes. Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
Sya remains a magical listening experience for me, even five years (and several purchases of it for friends and children) later. Its spare fusion of hip-hop with traditional Malian song structures means the listener really can hear everything; neither tradition overwhelms the other but you get the feeling that these musics have more in common than you might initially think. Even better: it's danceable without resorting to thump-thumpiness, as Bagayogo's lute's percussive qualities are easily audible and so add to the record's rhythmic complexity and sonic textures--one of those textures being space. There's enormous room in this album, which allows instruments and vocalists room for us to hear them--something that can't be said about the other albums.

I also own Timbuktu and Tassoumakan (in fact, I'm listening to Timbuktu as I write this review), but it's Sya that I take with me on road-trips. Even as the car takes me where I need to go, this marvelous album takes my mind to still another place.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I lived in West Africa for three years and this is the best album I found. A Peace Corps volunteer played if for me on Christmas Day in Mali. It is intense and moving and absolute dynamite to listen to.
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