Daby Toure - Diam
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Daby Toure
Real World Records (www.realworldrecords.com)

cd cover Mauritania-born Daby Toure was previously half of the duo Toure Toure, who put out a pretty good album of West African pop a few years back. His predilection toward music makes sense, since his father Hamidou and uncles Sixu and Ismael once comprised the lineup of longtime African music stars Toure Kunda. Daby's solo debut Diam is a solid acoustic/electric effort full of sparse but potent songs, restrained modern production values and mid-tempo grooves. His voice (which is accomplished enough to have enabled him to sing "In Your Eyes" with Peter Gabriel on the Brit superstar's last European tour) can lull you with intimate tonality as well as ascend into upper registers here and there. He's got the same natural keening wail as other notable singers from the region and, naturally, more than a hint of the vocal quality of his predecessors in the Toure clan. Guitar, bass and lightly scampering percussion are the primary instrumentation, making for a generally low-key affair that reveals key bits of intensity via passages enhanced by electronic textures, drum beats sometimes getting bumped up in the mix. The coproduction efforts of Toure and Cyrille Dufay maintaining a warm but moderately punchy vibe throughout. Toure sings of ancestors, relationships, simple pleasures, hard times and basic goodness, unpretentiously stepping into place as a contemporary African artist who's found his niche and likely has more good things to come. On the cd cover, he's seen standing with his head held high. Appropriately so, since this is a work to take pride in. -Tom Orr

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