Sabou

Guinea native Mory KantÉ is a member of a distinguished family of Mande griots; his grounding in the traditional music of his people was thorough.

Guinea native Mory Kanté is a member of a distinguished family of Mande griots; his grounding in the traditional music of his people was thorough. And his 1988 hit single, the 1 million-selling "Yéké Yéké," is a definitive indication of his popular appeal. "Sabou" is essentially an album that recognizes the dualistic nature of Kanté's musical world. The CD is an all-acoustic production that showcases the graceful feel of such traditional West African instruments as the balafon, kora, djembe and flute. Kanté plays numerous instruments on the record and, of course, lends his distinctive tenor to the self-composed tunes. Though the emphasis here is on traditional instruments and rootsy African lyrical themes, the tracks possess terrific pop appeal. "Sabou" is a triumph for Kanté, who deftly intertwines his devotion to acoustic music and his gift for creating cool tunes that transcend linguistic barriers. Distributed in the United States by Ryko.—PVV