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Audio CD

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Audio CD, May 2, 2000
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Editorial Reviews


Nahawa Doumbia has been one of Mali's most uniquely passionate singer-composers since the 1980s. As she is from the Fula tribe, she is unfettered by the praise-singing conventions of the Jeli (hereditary musician) caste, and her lyrics address more universal human concerns like loneliness, taking pride in one's work, educating the young, food gathering, and making peace with the inevitability of death. On Yaala ("Work") the bottom-heavy urgency of the arrangements are midway between the spare acoustic settings of her earliest releases and the razzle-dazzle Paris-session fiestas of the late '80s. The pentatonic (five-tone) scales seethe and rock, and French guitarist Claude Barthélémy manages to be a full collaborator without intruding; his riffs slither amid resonant wooden xylophones, chesty a cappella choirs, liquid flutes, and rattling percussion like a jewel-toned serpent. But the overwhelming presence on the set is Doumbia's clarionlike voice and increasingly iconic presence, which has attained an extraordinary spike of primal power and technical aplomb. Her phrasing is seemingly offhand yet flawlessly ornamented, and her grasp of light and shade, matter and the immaterial, has never been more subtly focused. --Christina Roden


This is a robust, earthy set of traditional Malian chants arranged with an ear for Afro-pop. A balafon meanders; djembes throb and thump; guitars spiral and slide; a flute leaps above the shifting textures, and Nahawa Doumbia cries out to praise hard workers, confront death, beseech the sacred boa and warn against a coming tornado. The music as solid and grand as the giant forest trees that Doumbia poses against the tornado, asking them to "hang on to the young plants." -- From Rhythm Magazine

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sounoroma
  2. Niana
  3. N'Tamagnoko
  4. Minia
  5. Sisse
  6. N'Tana
  7. Yaala
  8. Yirini
  9. Foly
  10. Demisen

Product details

  • Audio CD (May 2, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cobalt Music France
  • ASIN: B00004T49F
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,084,257 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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on February 16, 2001
Format: Audio CD
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