Available languages: EnglishAn essential member of Ali Farka Toure's band for more than three decades, Afel Bocoum took his first steps into the limelight with his debut solo album, Alkibar: Messenger of the Great River, in 1999. It was recorded along the banks of the Niger River, during a five-day break from working on Toure's album Niafunke. Alkibar set finger-picked guitar melodies and soulful vocals, in the Sonrai, Fula, and Tamashek languages, to a musical tapestry of lute, monochord njurkle, calabash, spike fiddles, and a three-voiced choir. The BBC reviewed Bocoum's performance on the album as "gentler than the stabbing blues style of Ali Farka Toure. Bocoum's sound is poly-rhythmic, warm, and enchanting with simple magnetic melodies and hummable choruses." The son of a njoika and njurkle player, Bocoum began playing with Toure, in Troupe Musicale De Niafunke, at the age of 13. Although he left the group to study agriculture at M'Pessoba in South Mali, in 1975, he reunited with his former mentor in Toure's band, Asko, in the early '80s.
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Wereldmuziek - Verschenen op 4 september 2020 | World Circuit
For decades, the musical traditions of Mali have proved irresistible to English and American audiences; one of the first giants of Malian music to cross over was Ali Farka Tour. As a boy, Afel Bocoum idolized Touré, eventually becoming a member of his band and, thanks to Touré, getting his own international record deal. That deal has slowly borne fruit—Bocoum's World Circuit debut, Alkibar, was released in 1999; Lindé, is itss follow-up. To be fair, Bocoum also released two excellent albums with his band Alkibar on Belgian label Contre-Jour in 2006 and 2009 and worked with Damon Albarn on 2002's Mali Music. (Albarn and World Circuit founder Nick Gold are executive producers on Lindé.) But in tone, texture, and construction, Lindé is very much the successor to Alkibar, combining a range of Malian song traditions and instruments with Bocoum's mellow, muscular voice and blues-flecked guitar and a grab-bag of guest spots. The album is quite vibe-y throughout, giving off a relaxed, midtempo feel that also shows a slight weariness: The current political and economic state of Mali is dire, and while Lindé does not directly address his country's issues, Bocoum's insistence on optimism and unity stands as its own sort of statement. The reggae-adjacent groove of "Bombolo Liilo" is one of the best examples, as Bocoum has constructed a rather intricate composition here, with a loping trombone line by Studio One mainstay Vin Gordon that complements, rather than doubles, the guitar melody, as Madou Sidiki Diabaté's kora provides a unique, bluesy filigree. Likewise, on "Yer Gando," Bocoum's plaintive vocals are supported by violin (Joan as Police Woman’s Joan Wasser) and ngoni (Harouna Samake Kamale) that, for a moment at least, gives the song a country-and-western vibe. That easy, instinctive interplay between musicians drives the proceedings here, resulting in an album that sounds breezy and casual on the surface, but, ultimately, is a much more complex and satisfying creation. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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