Born in Cote d'Ivoire and raised in Mali, the singer Maimouna is said to have been steeped in the oral histories and musical arts of the Manding, Sarakhole, Peul, and Bambara peoples since childhood. With Dakan (Songs of Mali ) Maimouna demonstrates her ability to fuse elements from her tradition rich upbringing with an arresting style all her own. Many cyclical 6/8 grooves saturated with the wooden tones of Adam Conde's balafon, Moriba Koita's nkoni (plucked lute from West Africa), and Aly Wagne's Peul flute grace this CD. The "giant of the jembe," Adama Drame, also plays on the album although he is placed so far down in the mix that this mighty player's jembe sounds thimble sized. If one strains to hear Drame's drumming, robust and molded phrases will be revealed, but only when they are allowed room in the mix. Though this audio engineering blunder diminishes the impact of the CD, Maimouna's Dakan (Songs of Mali) is undeniably mature and lyrical.
AllMusic Review by John Vallier