Former Zap Mama recognizes local traditions of Cameroon
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Sally Nyolo and the Original Bands of Yaounde
Studio Cameroon
Riverboat Records (www.worldmusic.net)

Sally Nyolo, former Zap Mama member and currently solo, stands grinning with hands outstretched on the cover. It's clearly a stance that bespeaks giving, and in this case she's helping give recognition to the localized musical talent in her native Cameroon. Recorded in a makeshift studio (though clearly one that had some technical capabilities), Nyolo's producing, co-composing and general guiding skills are coupled with the spunk and spirit of the artists she presents. There are many true delights here, including the Bidjoi Sisters' mix of talk-sing and wobbly rhythm on "Chantal," an instrumental by one Marche Mokolo that sounds equal parts highlife and traditional, La Voix Du Cenacle's mightily understated wall of vocal power in combination with Nyolo on "Pek," the bubbly beat and wry singing that grace Americain's "Salaire" and a raspy jazz/funk piece courtesy of the Edmond Fils Nkoa Band. The instrumentation is a handy blend of electric and rustic, befitting the feel of longstanding styles given a judicious modern sheen. Everyone who steps up to the microphone makes a memorable go of it, each compounding the joyous ease that never lags on this unfailingly enjoyable CD. - Tom Orr

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