Moffou

Malian artist Salif Keïta has released a magnificent acoustic album that immediately brings to mind his nickname—The Golden Voice of Africa. Keïta opened a music club in Bamako, M

Malian artist Salif Keïta has released a magnificent acoustic album that immediately brings to mind his nickname—The Golden Voice of Africa. Keïta opened a music club in Bamako, Mali, called Moffou. In

bestowing the same name on his new album, Keïta seems to be signifying a return to a sound that's more African than Afro-pop. There's certainly nothing equivocal about the music we hear on Moffou. Keïta's songwriting was surely inspired by the traditional sounds and instruments of Mali. Stylistically, the delicious groove of "Madan" perfectly illustrates Keïta's roots vibe. The song has a righteous bounce, driven by

the polyrhythmic percussion and the buzzing strings of lute, guitar, and kamele n'goni. The song cooks relentlessly. At a less hectic tempo, Keïta sings with remarkable elegance in the sparse arrangement of "Souvent" and delivers a mighty duet with Césaria Évora on "Yamore."—PVV