Lobi Traoré

Mali Blue

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A protégé of the great Ali Farka Touré, Lobi Traoré manifested his great talent not only through his excellent guitar work, but also through the way he used the Bambara tradition, with mournful, often monochordal melodies. While not an originaly album (it's actually a compilation of tracks that appeared on four albums recorded between 1991 and 1998, along with a live version of "Ni Tougou La Mogo Miko," which also appears in a studio version), it's a good introduction to a solid, imaginative figure in Malian music, one who took over Touré's crown after the older man showed himself less inclined to tour and record -- indeed, he produced some of the tracks here. Traditional in spirit, if not actuality, it showcases Traoré's strengths, with kora, n'goni, and percussion rounding out the ensembles. On the basis of this, Traoré proved himself definitely ready for the world stage.

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