The Frikyiwa Family / Trilok Gurtu

Farakala

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Trilok Gurtu is best known for his percussion work melding Indian music and jazz. This time he takes on an entirely new challenge, working with West African musicians from the Frikyawa label. On the surface, the two styles don't go together, but in the hands of Gurtu and the others -- kora, electric kora, calabash, and ngoni -- it becomes something of a trance feast with its feet quite firmly in African soil (all the more surprising since Gurtu wrote all but one of the cuts here). Interestingly, Gurtu's presence throughout is largely understated, leaving the spotlight to the others, most especially singer Hadja Kouyate, whose vocal and tonal range is nothing less than stunning. The percussion is often simply atmosphere, as on "Mil-Jul," but that's fine. Gurtu is a past master at knowing what to put in or leave out to enhance a song. Here he proves that imagination and good taste transcend continents

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