VODKA VODKA returns in February. Limited early bird tickets are on sale right now!

Damon Albarn, Afel Bocoum & Friends 

Mali Music (Honest Jon's/Astralwerks)

Before delving into the musical contents of Mali Music, a bit of background information: Mali is a small country in West Africa, home of one of the world's most fascinating music cultures. Damon Albarn is a British musician famous for being the frontman of Blur and Gorillaz. Mali Music is the result of Albarn's eight-day journey to Mali, where he recorded hours of material with local musicians -- among them singer/guitarist Afel Bocoum, kora player Toumani Diabanté, and griot singer Kasse Mady -- then brought the material home to England to feed into his computer. Okay, got it?

Hope so, because Mali Music is an amazing musical experience. Far from being a naive field recording by a British cultural imperialist, trying his best to keep up gamely with some of Mali's best traditional and contemporary musicians, Mali Music fuses Albarn's modern sampling, looping, and dubbing techniques with the sounds of master musicians playing instruments that have existed for centuries. The 16 songs here work together to create an atmospheric blend of world music and chilled-out Western electronic styles that should appeal equally to seasoned world-music vets, dope-smoking club kids, and anyone in between whose ears and mind are open. Those expecting Paul Simon's Graceland or even Buena Vista Social Club will be sorely disappointed, but they'll be infinitely the better for it.

More by Todd Hutlock


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert @ Severance Hall

    • Sun., Jan. 20
  • Tinder Live with Lane Moore @ Grog Shop

    • Tue., Jan. 22
  • Stand Up Science with Shane Mauss @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Wed., Jan. 23

© 2019 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation