Timbuktoubab

When Californian Markus James gets together with Malian musicians Hassi Sare (njarka violin, vocals), Solo Sidibe (kamele n'goni, vocals) and Hamma Sankare (calabash, vocals)—as he did for "Tim

When Californian Markus James gets together with Malian musicians Hassi Sare (njarka violin, vocals), Solo Sidibe (kamele n'goni, vocals) and Hamma Sankare (calabash, vocals)—as he did for "Timbuktoubab"—what emerges is haunting music that conjures the very soul of the Sahara. Just as remarkable is the way James evokes the spirit of the blues in these tracks, connecting with a vibe that's as ancient as Timbuktu itself. He wrote all the songs with his Malian bandmates, and the lyrics are rife with evocative images of the Sahel that are metaphoric and literal. Every song on "Timbuktoubab" is a piece of magic that will draw in listeners and work its own spell. It is accompanied by a DVD, which is equally inspiring. The film offers an uncommon insight into the inhabitants and the music of Mali. This, in turn, goes a long way toward explaining James' passionate connection to these people and their music. Racked in the United States by Burnside.—PVV