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Following Worotan, Oumou Sangare's 3rd album for World Circuit, she decided to take some time to devote to her family & also to focus her efforts on bettering her own country rather than continuing her path to international stardom. After nearly 8 years since that last US release, World Circuit is reintroducing her with the Oumou compilation.This is much more than a simple greatest hits package, as 6 of the tracks come from Sangare's most recent album, released on cassette only in Mali in 2003, & 2 others are previously unreleased. Sangare is not only a fabulous singer with a great band, she is an important social commentator, addressing many aspects of Malian society with a forthrightness never before heard from a Malian woman. Her basic sound is rooted in Wassoulou, a modernized version of an ancient hunters' musical tradition, which featured the kamalengoni, a 6 stringed African harp. Sangare blended that with violin, electric guitar, bass, and her powerful, passionate lyrics, taking Mali by storm in the early '90s. As time went on, she incorporated some outside influences, but never abandoned her deeply Malian sound. In fact, some of the material from the most recent release is virtually indistinguishable from her 1st album. On the other hand, she successfully integrated Pee Wee Ellis & his horn arrangements on Worotan, & while the drum programming on "Yala" might be a bit disconcerting at first, she points out in the liner notes that the song was intended as a message for young people, & where better to get that message out than the dance floor? That song & Ne Bi Fe, with its almost trip-hop flavor, represent the only real stylistic departures on the collection. The intelligent, non-chronological sequencing makes the collection flow nicely. Informative liner notes outline the origins of Wassoulou, Sangare's history, and Oumou herself provides track-by-track commentary. This is a great package of amazing music from one of Mali's most important artists.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language : English
- Product Dimensions : 5.71 x 5 x 0.47 inches; 4.87 Ounces
- Manufacturer : World Circuit
- Item model number : 79827-2
- Original Release Date : 2006
- SPARS Code : DDD
- Date First Available : May 23, 2010
- Label : World Circuit
- ASIN : B0000C3X1X
- Country of Origin : USA
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: #24,744 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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If you own "Ko Sira," "Moussoulou" and "Worotan" there are still half a dozen or so tracks here that you probably don't already have on CD. Most of them are from her 2001 release "Laban," which while never released in the West is the best-selling recording in Malian history. There's also a DJ remix of her haunting "Djorolen." The original is one of my favorite Oumou songs, and the new version is haunting but in a surprising way--a significant departure from the source material.
If you DON'T own any of the three albums listed above, you owe it to yourself to pick up this collection and check out what Oumou has to offer. There's a reason she's such a superstar at home. Talent is a big part of it, as is good business sense and keen ambition. But listening to "OUMOU" will tell pretty much the whole story.
I have all 3 and when I saw the release of this disc, I have to admit I was disappointed. In a perfect world, the 3 previous albums would have stayed in print, and this would have been a 2 or 3-disc set made up of live material as well as the new (to those of us not in Africa) studio tracks included here that are from the Africa-only cassette release, Laban. This would have been my first choice because that way we all would have gotten much more new material. Let's face it, anyone who has heard Oumou in concert knows that she is phenomenal. I can't imagine anyone who has been to her concerts not thinking it was one of the best concerts they have ever been to. She is truly a gift to us all. Chicago '99 is the performance that proves this to me.
Even though I was disappointed to see that the vast majority of this set is previously-released material I already owned, I still had to buy it. I had heard OF the Laban cassette in the past couple years but never heard it, and it kinda drove me nuts knowing there was new Oumou out there that I couldn't get my hands on. Now that I have heard the new stuff, it turns out that (at least in my opinion) none of the new tracks are at the level of the older stuff. It's not that I don't like the songs, though. It's the fact that the new stuff is more electronic. I prefer stripped-down Oumou. For me, she could do an album with nothing more than herself, her female back-up singers, a ngoni and a calabash player and *POOF*, magical album. The new tracks are the exact opposite of that. Keyboards, programming, smoother production, etc... Actually I don't mind the drum programming on a couple tracks, but some of the keyboard stuff is just way too smooothie-pop layering for me.
Having said all this, for what it is... a Best Of album with some new tracks... it is excellent. It truly does have all her best songs from the first 3 albums. In order, I have always ranked her albums (favorite to least) as Ko Sira, Moussoulou, and then Worotan. Ko Sira and Moussoulou both being fantastic almost from beginning to end, and Worotan being okay overall with some bright spots.
So, 5 stars because the stuff from the previous albums is still fantastic, but I take away a couple stars for the production style of the new tracks, but then I give a star back because like I said, now that the first 3 albums are gone, this is the perfect digest of those albums. This is jam-packed with her best songs... and her voice!
If you don't have the other 3 albums, do not hesitate to buy this. You will continue to miss out on some great stuff if you don't.
This album compiles songs from her three previous albums, and adds eight new tracks. Some of my favorite things were new ('new' in the sense of 'not previously available on CD'). Although there is a five-song overlap between this and "Worotan" (the other Oumou Sangare album that I have), I don't mind too much. I do agree with the other reviewer who noted that this album is probably not essential for someone who already has all three of the previous albums; but if you've got only one, and you like it, I would get this by all means.
Top reviews from other countries
Its original, talented, and puts you in a positive mood.
Helps me get the house work done.