Amadou Balake / Taximen et Autores Son
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cd cover Amadou Balaké
Dans-Son Nouveau Style, Taximen et Autores Son
Popular African Music (

The resurrection of classic African pop music from the 1970s continues unabated with this collection from Burkina Faso-born singer and percussionist Amadou Balaké. The CD reissues two Nigeria-recorded discs: 1978's Taximen and Volume 2, released the following year.

Although burdened by sparse liner notes and notably cheesy cover art, the disk highlights Balaké's musical versatility and skill as a bandleader. The lilting "Wariko (Money)" is built around a beautiful rhythm guitar riff overlaid by Latin-tinged horns. Balaké's Latin influence is even more apparent on "Mingoussia." Alternately sung in Spanish and French, this torch song would not be out of place in a Havana nightclub circa 1960, were it not for Taore "Pacheco" Kemogo's searching lead guitar lines. Likewise "Kanan N'Djanfa" centers on a La Bamba-style riff and periodic bursts of syncopated percussion

"Taximen," one of Balaké's biggest hits of the period, outlines an amusing story of the tribulations that the singer apperently suffered at the hands of a notoriously unscrupulous Abijani taxi driver. More somber is "Wayisjelequeyele (Listen to My Problems)," a hypnotic call and response punctuated by funky horns and insistent guitar riffs.

This CD is a welcome, if overdue, release for fans of classic Afropop, showcasing as it does the work of this versatile and cosmopolitan musician to a new generation of fans. - Michael Duke

CD available from cdRoots

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