Magou & Dakar Transit

Africa Yewul

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Senegal's Magou has acres of talent. It's just a shame that his first album -- presumably aimed toward achieving the widest possible appeal as a global release -- doesn't always show that talent in the best light. It's just too polished, and tries to anticipate the world market too much with four big ballads that simply aren't his forte, and which never sound right on an album that also strives to be very African. But that's the big problem -- this is a record caught between two worlds. Someone believes the Western market wants something slick, and so the production is just that, with no rawness left in the mix. But at its heart this disc wants to have lots of rough edges, to be wild. So there's a conflict that extends into the mbalax. It's hard to fault the individual elements -- Magou himself has a good voice, and the instrumentalists do a good job, some outstanding, some competent (amazingly, that's the percussion), but all trapped by the production. Maybe next time the real Magou will have the chance to stand up.

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