Amadou Diagne

Introducing Amadou Diagne

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Amadou Diagne's international debut came about in an unusual way -- by winning a battle of the bands on the label's website. His entry, "Senegal," the leadoff track here, captures much of what he's about, with his high, aching griot voice and seductive guitar playing. Trained as a percussionist -- although he only uses percussion sparingly and subtly here -- he's also a very gifted singer and songwriter, able to use the desert blues without being in thrall to them, just one facet of his music. He also makes use of the kora harp, using it to gorgeous effect on "Beaguele," where it slides in and over the guitar line, rippling and constantly moving to propel the song. Most of his material deals with his homeland, but the English-language "Africa Stop War" is an appeal to the entire continent. Although he's already very good, Diagne remains a work in progress, as the inclusion of jazzy sax to color a couple of tracks shows. But this marks a very strong beginning.

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