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Mamar Kassey
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Mamar Kassey
Alatoumi
World Village (www.harmoniamundi.com)

cd cover You know you are onto something good with the very first track of this album. It begins with the piercing cry of a flute, then the song breaks into a terrific rhythm with electric guitar, bass, traditional contigui, komsa, and molo lutes joining the equally piercing vocals of Yacouba Moumouni.

Listen!
Mamar Kassey is a group hailing from Niger that blends their electric guitar and bass with more traditional timbres and music from West and North Africa. This approach is not unique, but Mamar Kassey manages it particulary well. I appreciate how traditonal instruments are the foundation of the sound, as demonstrated in the 2nd track "Maiga et Toure." Over the accompaniement of the lutes, percussion, and bass, the vocals alternate solos with the flute and bowed monochord godge. When the electric guitar joins the godge in duet it is as natural as it is beautiful. The heart of this album, though, are the vocals. Yacouba Moumouni's voice, often joined by a backing female chorus, is striking and beautiful. For the vocals alone this album would be worthwhile, even if the instrumentation were not as good as it is. There is also good pacing to this album with thoughtful arrangement of contemporary and more traditional pieces such as "Hamsatou Lobbo" and "Wouibe." With the more relaxed texture and pace of such pieces with their acoustic percussion, lutes and of course beautiful vocals, they offer the album greater balance and variety with the equally enjoyable contemporary pieces and help make this full 72 minute CD a joy to listen to. - David Dalle

(Audio copyright 2002 World Village, used by permission)

CD available at cdRoots


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