Malian vocalist Mamani Keita, a former backup singer with Salif Keita, and Euro techno-head Marc Minelli collectively created this remarkably idiosyncratic album.

Malian vocalist Mamani Keita, a former backup singer with Salif Keita, and Euro techno-head Marc Minelli collectively created this remarkably idiosyncratic album. Keita wrote the lyrics to all the songs and sings in Bambara. Minelli, known as a techno-pop artist, embraces Keita's vocals with arrangements that are equal parts electronic and acoustic. The result is a collection of very cool tracks that most frequently impart a jazz feel while occasionally mimicking with uncanny accuracy the texture of Keita's Bambara lyrics. This record has the great virtue of being incredibly listenable. It's full of surprises and intriguing colors, and it doesn't sound like anything else out there. By all accounts, this collaboration was something of a shot in the dark. The outcome, however, is one of the most sonically alluring world-music albums of 2003.—PVV