Nahini Doumbia

Percussion and Songs from Mali

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Malian music has had plenty of representation on the world music scene, with notables from Salif Keita to Toumani Diabaté. Following in less classical lines, perhaps, is the set of percussion players brimming from the country. Nahini Doumbia is one of those, though his band is largely Ivorian, relocated to Mali during the civil war. The set they perform is a good one. No punches are pulled, no prisoners taken when the djembes really get moving. There are more lackluster grooves in the mix, but they're all grooves nonetheless. The band never has a quiet moment, only moments that are less filled than others. There are hints of greatness in the playing, with grooves reminiscent of Babatunde Olatunji from time to time ("Danse Bambara Korodouga" has some elements of "Jin-Go-Lo-Ba," for example). However, the ensemble tends toward the simplistic and the repetitive, a simple trap for a percussion set to fall into, but one that is more often avoided in African formats. Not a bad collection by any measure, but not a memorable one, either.

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