Paris-based Senegalese singer Fania has released quite an enchanting debut with Sopi. While scattershot in its directions -- ranging from roots music to singer/songwriter fare, some touches of electronic, and even reggae -- her naïve voice tends to be winning on all fronts, while the material itself is strong enough to warrant repeated listenings. While at times it seems deliberately geared to Western tastes with its folky acoustic guitar shadings, the textures of the kora always keep a root in Africa -- even when the programming lumps and bumps percussion around. The odd track out, though, has to be "Yagou," which is strictly Marley-style roots reggae, coming in a couple of versions, one of which includes the glorious vocals of Horace Andy complementing Fania (then recurs to close the album sans Andy). So while Fania has yet to really focus her sound, there's a sweet quality about her that offers a real future.
AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson