Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Dimanche A Bamako

I'm a big fan of Manu Chao. I loved his band Mano Negra - "the French Clash". They sang songs in French, Spanish and English, and their multi-culti rock music was a captivating mix of folk, punk, reggae and pop. After they split up in the '90s, Manu put out a couple of solo albums and a live set. Their spirit was the same, but it was stripped down and more acoustic. He has now taken his unique style and applied it to the new album from Malian duo Amadou & Mariam, called Dimanche A Bamako. They are a blind couple who have been recording together for over 20 years in west Africa, creating a tasty blend of Afro-pop and folk rock. This is their 10th album. Manu co-writes, sings and produces (a sticker on the CD cover has his name on it - it made me take notice of the CD and start paying attention to the reviews, mostly positive) and his imprint is unmistakable. The mix is full of sound - lilting, strummy reggae with street noises and voices punctuating everything. The duo sing beautifully of love and politics and their homeland, and Amadou plays some glorious guitar, ranging from surf rock to folk to scratchy and funky. It's a sunny set of songs that really benefit from Manu's collaboration, and I'm hooked. Here are a couple of tasty tracks for you to enjoy -
Beaux Dimanches
Senegal Fast Food

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