Mory Kanté

Tamala le Voyageur

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On Tamala le Voyageur, Mory Kanté, the cybernetic griot, is trying to reach out to the whole world in a variety of styles, some of which connect while others come across as flat and contrived. On top, "Le Griot" has punch and lots of Euro-backbeat. "Guineen Nou," a call for tribal unity within his homeland of Guinea, breaks with some powerful salsa riffs. "Dimini" has that all too familiar Euro-dance flavor that wears thin after a few listenings. The one thing that holds the interest of the true African music lover is his inspired cora playing and the backing balafon. Kanté's lyrics speak of very worthy topics such as gratitude, societal parasites, filial piety, slander, and abuse of love's pleasure. He has tried here to meld the traditional with the modern. In places, he accomplishes this difficult art. However, the album is in large part a capitulation to the European-style dancefloor.

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