This compelling album is Malian singer/songwriter Issa Bagayogo's second full-length, albeit his American debut.
This compelling album is Malian singer/songwriter Issa Bagayogo's second full-length, albeit his American debut. (Six Degrees is planning a worldwide reissue of Sya, his debut disc, later this year.) Once again, we're doing things backward in the U.S., but that doesn't detract from the seductive pull of this material. Bagayogo is working a style that Bamako fans are labeling Afro-electro. For a taste of this new groove in full flight, cue up "Nogo" and "Dambalou." The sway of trance-electronica and Afro-pop combine effortlessly with the traditional feel of balafon and kamelé n'goni, creating a hypnotic sound that feeds off a laid-back, circular melodicism and insistent syncopation. Bagayogo's dusky vocal style is essential to the trance vibe that underwrites the album. Add this man's name to the growing list of Mali's emerging world-music luminaries.—PVV