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World Music CD Reviews Africa

Mory Kanté

By Marie Elsie St. Leger
Published August 1, 2005

Sabou
Riverboat/World Music Network

Guinea’s Mory Kanté paved the way for other African musicians (including Youssou N’Dour and Salif Keita) with 1984’s Mory Kanté a Paris. Twenty years on, Kanté felt compelled to stop and take stock. The result: Sabou, Kanté’s loving tribute to his past. Kanté dispenses with the slick, sometimes overly fussy production of his ’90s output, leaving his straightforward melodies simply adorned and allowing his chorus to shine. The singer/multi-instrumentalist allows his music to carry the messages of such songs as “Möko” and “Loniya,” resisting the urge to hide behind well-executed gimmicks. The beat hasn’t died though, so dancing to songs like “Désolé,” “Mama” and “”Nafiya” is expected and encouraged.