Following the electrifying success of his 3-year-old Afrobeat masterpiece Nomad Soul, Maal has chosen to return to a more intimate, traditional sound for Missing You.

Following the electrifying success of his 3-year-old Afrobeat masterpiece Nomad Soul, Maal has chosen to return to a more intimate, traditional sound for Missing You. All but one of the tracks were cut in the village of Nbunk, Senegal, using a mobile studio; the payoff for recording up-country is an essentially acoustic album of undeniable charm and ingenious virtuosity. The bulk of the songs here feature a very brief, yet pointed lyrical statement, amplified by a supple instrumental groove. Like many West African artists, Maal enjoys making music that plays with both your head and your body. On "Fa Laay Fanaan," the teenage griot Cisse Damba Kanoute joins Maal in rebuking world leaders for basically screwing Africa for centuries—a polemic set to an infectious, lilting, polyrhythmic arrangement. Missing You isn't about Maal returning to his roots. Rather, it proves he never really left.—PVV

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