Mamar Kassey


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This Niger band debuts with an essential album (on France's Daqui label) for fans of worldbeat and Afro-pop music. The blending of native Sahelian, Hausa, Fulani, Bambara, and Songhai musical traditions results in a driving sound that will sound at least a bit familiar to fans of such Mali artists as Ali Farka Toure and Boubacar Traoré. But Mamar Kassey builds their arid, hypnotic dance grooves with traditional acoustic folk instruments and call-and-response vocals, relying less upon rippling electric guitar leads, though there are a few. This expert juxtaposition of the old and the new suggests that Mamar Kassey is a band with a genuine vision. The disc's extensive booklet of notes might tell listeners much more about the band, but they are printed only in French.

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