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genre: Genres Manding Swing

  • review November 4, 2014

    River Strings: Maninka Guitar

    In the past, when the great guitarists of West Africa have made solo albums, they’ve tended to inspire listener complaint along the lines of Frank Zappa’s memorable line:  “Shut up ‘n play yer guitar.” Specifically, the prominence of vocalists on … Read more »

  • review September 12, 2014

    Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako

    The central irony of Salif Keita’s early career is how a noble—a descendant of the Mande Empire’s founder Sunjata Keita, yet—could assume the profile of a griot, a musical orator of a distinctly lower social status. When Keita arrived on … Read more »

  • hip-deep November 8, 2012

    The Story of Bembeya Jazz

    Guinea’s legendary dance band, Bembeya Jazz, are a pillar of modern West African history.  Begun in 1961 in the flush of Guinea’s independence and Sekou Toure’s maverick presidency, the band played under the inspired leadership of guitar giant Sekou “Bembeya” … Read more »

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