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Afel Bocoum & Alkibar - Niger

  by Maarten Schiethart

published: 23 / 9 / 2006



Afel Bocoum & Alkibar - Niger
Label: Select Label
Format: CD

intro

Initmate, spirited, traditional-sounding new album from Mali musician Afel Bocuum, who has worked with Damon Albarn and Toumani Diabaté, and which was recorded with his fellow countrymen six-piece band Alkibar


Mali's music serves as perfect proof of its vast cultural heritage. Guitarist and singer Afel Bocoum, who had worked previously with Damon Albarn and Toumani Diabaté on an album for the Honest Jon's label, recorded 'Niger' January this year in Bamakó. Now that the country's best known blues singer has passed away, Afel Bocoum is the first to pay tribute on the album's opening track, 'Ali Farka'. The booklet's inner pages, centrefold if you must, show the sextet which recorded the album 'Niger' with Afel. The music is much more intimate than you'd expect from a six-piece though. The band Alkibar, which translates as 'messengers of (the river) Issaber' - whilst the Niger is of course the main river that flows through West Africa- accompanies Afel on traditional Malinese musical instruments; the njarká (violin), the njurklé (monochord lute) and calabas; as well as bass - truly a huge one there! - and guitar. It's all about the rivers! The 'Niger' album is a very spirited effort; remembering the great merit of Ali Farka Touré's blues -'The River' was his breakthrough album -whilst contemplating on Mali's status as an impoverished and disenfranchised young country where only a third of the population knows how to read and write. 'Niger' is the gripping report of a region with has some of the finest musicianship but is amongst the worst in terms of development. It is a tragic reflection that most people in 'le Mali' itself probably would not even be in the position to know of Afel Bocoum and his music. It would be of no avail to point out tracks off the album; 'Niger' was recorded as a session. Heard in one go, the album delivers what you might expect : perfection from snare instruments that's in tune with immaculate percussion. 'Niger' is an album better recommended than described.



Track Listing:-
1 Ali Farka
2 Bambarare
3 Barke Dawi
4 Denke Denke
5 Inkey
6 Mali Chinda
7 Manni
8 Njorfu
9 Niger
10 Politique
11 Tandina
12 Uma Eya



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