Album Review

Al Bilali Soudan – “Al Bilali Soudan” – [Clermont Music]

humana   12/17/2013   CD, International

The band hails from Timbuktu and is composed of family and friends. Aballow Yattara, the leader, knows how to rock the West African instrument called tehardent, which is a three-stringed, fretless creature considered a precursor to the banjo. The percussion comes from the calabash, a half-gourd that has been hollowed. The music is intended to accompany traditional dance, and what I like about it is how upbeat it sounds. I can imagine stomping around to it wailing in sorrow or in joy, or both, attesting to a heritage of feeling and story that can best be expressed by the very music you hear on this CD.

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