Baaba Maal

Missing You (Mi Yeewnii)

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Missing You (Mi Yeewnii) Review

by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

As one of Africa's most pivotal musicians, Baaba Maal has consistently produced music that challenges cultural expectations as well as political/social consciousness. Since he was not born into the griot caste, the group that traditionally produces music and documents history, Maal oversteps many barriers to create tunes that inspire dancing, thinking, and spiritual connection. Missing You (Mi Yeewnii) represents a pinnacle of sorts. After the commercial success of Firin' in Fouta and Nomad Soul, which were albums that presented a seamless blending of modern and traditional cultures, Missing You returns to the natural essence of African music -- the people and land itself. It's an offering that reaches both the modern and traditional worlds without compromise. This CD is a collection of intimate, pure tunes enhanced only by traditional instruments and Maal's soaring voice. Recorded in the small village of Nbunk, just outside of Maal's native Dakar, the album brims with the nuances of rural African life. Composed on acoustic guitar, the songs range from the throbbing percussion of "Leydi Ma," to the unadorned simplicity of "Miyaabele," a melody indigenous to all of West Africa, which Maal brilliantly uses as a plea for African unity. Boasting balafons, koras, drums, hoddu (African lute), and even crickets, Missing You reflects Maal's vision of one Africa, and it's a beautiful vision indeed.

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