Nube Negra/Intuition (via Alula in US: www.alula.com)
Singer-songwriter Bidinte comes from Guinea Bissau, one of the lesser known corners of West Africa. This former Portuguese colony does not have the musical renown of her island neighbor, Cape Verde, home most notably to the morna diva, Cesaria Evora. Like Evora, Bidinte's singing is slightly mournful, though his compositions are as rich as his vocals. His work also recalls recent releases by Samite, Henri Dikongue, and especially Gabin Dabire.
Pensive throughout, Bidinte mixes modern Iberian instrumentation (e.g. flamenco guitar, flute, electric bass) with some tama and shekere to create a rich backdrop for his vocal prowess. "Sindin vela," with both a studio and a live version, is a lovely mid-tempo number of desperation and loss, which echoes both Bidinte's native Bissau and his adopted Spain. Flamenco fans will like the two guitars backing him on "Canjura," which also features flute behind Bidinte's pleas for love. The tama work on "Mariama" creates a nice tension with the flamenco and acoustic guitar. And the electric guitar on "Ke cu minino na tchora," though it's not really a reggae tune, is highly reminiscent of Junior Marvin's work on Alpha Blondy's Jerusalem or Bob Marley's Kaya. There are some less notable tunes, but all in all this is a very nice work by an emerging artist we'd like to hear more from. - Craig Tower
Audio: "Sindin Vela" by Bidinte; ©1999 Intuition/Nube Negra
Used by express permission
Distributed in the US by Alula Records