Salif Keita

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An early-'90s album from the great Salif Keita. This one pulls out all the stops to appeal to a Western audience at some level. Keita's vocals are, as always, outstanding. On top of this, though, a slew of performers make appearances and/or help out on production. Former bandmate Kante Manfila provides the primary guitar work for the album and master keyboardist Joe Zawinul both plays keyboards throughout and provides the production work. Also, balafon master Keletegui Diabate provides some outstanding work where needed. To top this, both Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter make appearances on their respective instruments within the structure of the album. As would be expected, then, the album sounds wonderful. Zawinul's production shies away from being overly glossy, but has enough doctoring to blend the sounds together in just the right way. As far as Keita albums are concerned, this is one of the best, and as far as Afro-pop is concerned, this is also one of the best. Anyone looking to break into Afro-pop should pick this album up, as it combines the work of a true vocal master with the work of a number of musicians (Western and African) of the highest caliber to create a seamless work on the whole.

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