Monday, August 25, 2008

Feel-good music from Africa

I've been having a bit of an African-themed few weeks, musically speaking. {A} and I received two CDs as a wedding gift from our friends Patrick and Tracy in Cape Town: Putumayo's Mali and African Odyssey CDs.

Both are great, but the Mali CD reminded me how much I like Malian music. Perfect up-beat stuff that leaves you feeling energized and cheerful. The songs by Habib Koite & Bamada are my favourites, so I looked him up on Napster and downloaded his most recent album, Afriki.

That led me to related artists on Napster, and I discovered more good stuff - most notably, Dimanche a Bamako by Amadou & Mariam. (This was released back in 2005, but I've never heard of them before.) This has an interesting, more modern pop edge (not surprising since it is produced by Manu Chao).

Finally, I've been enjoying the recent album by South African guitar legend Tony Cox, called Blue Anthem. This is a collaboration with the guys from the SA band Benguela, and it's quite different to Tony's usual fingerstyle guitar CDs. (He won a 2008 SAMA award for this album - congratulations!)

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