VARIOUS ARTISTS - Desert Blues 1 & 2
Desert Blues 1 - AMBIENCES DU SAHARA (1995)
"Desert Blues" takes us on a journey through the rich traditions of ballads from the Sahara, the Sahel and neighbouring African regions. This double CD (some two and a half hours playing time) presents the musical cosmos of Africa at its most tranquil, sung by the most magnificent voices. These are spellbinding voices indeed, poignant in their melancholiy, jubilant in their joy. "Songs like waves at night", in the words of Bruce Chatwin. This is music that touches the soul. It is, according to the Tuareg, music that heals. Tone and mood reflect the breathtaking landscapes of desert, steppe and forest, telling of ancient civilisations and the peoples who live there: Tuareg, Mandinka, Fula, Moors... Featuring the great bards, Senegal's Baaba Maal and Youssou N'Dour, as we never heard him before and introducing for the first time ever on record popular Fula singer Abou Djouba. With Grammy award winner Ali Farka Toure from Mali accompanied by Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal. With female vocalists Oumou Sangare and Sali Sidibe. Hassan Hakmoun presents gnawa music from Morocco. With the crystalline voice Dimi Mint Abba, "Africa's greatest singer" according to Ali Farka Toure, and Gambia's kora virtuoso Tata Dindin. With Kante Manfila from Guinea, who accompanied Salif Keita for many years. With Abdel Gadir Salim and Hamza El Din of Sudan. And with Aster Aweke and Mahmoud Ahmed of Ethiopia, whose soul-influenced and blues-inspired arrangements are pure enchantment.
Desert Blues 2 - REVES D'OASIS (2002)
As on the initial volume, this lavishly illustrated and annotated two-CD set explores assorted blueslike traditions found in and around the Sahara. Many of these artists use pentatonic scales and yes, their earthy vocals are often reminiscent of acoustic North American strains. But as each song unfolds into the next, like stanzas of an epic poem, individual identities and nationalities emerge loud and clear. Malian troubadour Boubacar Traore's woebegone keening could melt a heart of industrial-grade granite, while Momo Wandel Soumah of Conakry, Guinea, trades licks with a honking sax and periodically breaks into an irrepressible talking blues. When, or even if, African and Western players first began to influence one another is irrelevant in the face of such soul-stirring beauty. Wherever these tunes originated or have traveled since, they deal with real life in all its heartbreak, frustration, and glory and are triumphs of fierce, vulnerable humanity. - amazon.com
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