Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

Fula Flute

Mansa America

2009-03-09

Sure, opening cut "Obama" (#1) feels like a bit of a novelty song after the 2008 election. But concentrate on the playing - especially Bailo Bah's and Sylvain Leroux's crazy good flute chops - instead of the foreign language words, and the track will win you over like everything else on the disc. This traditional-based Fulani music from the Fouta Djalon highlands of Guinea features complex balafon, kora, and flute solos that feel like the wellspring of American jazz, especially when paired with genuine jazz change-ups. But there's also a stateliness to the instrumentation that somehow seems classical. The two strains combine brilliantly on "Fouta Canada" (#5), thanks to a seamlessly integrated horn section. It's the Fulani flute that steals the show on "Lele"(#4) and "Boloba" (#6) via performances so physical, it's as if the flutist is trying to fit his entire body into the mouthpiece. The vocal interjections that punctuate these solos increase the crazy intensity of an already thrilling recording. - Bob Tarte

More reviews tagged #World

  • reviewed 11/2010

    TOM ZE
    Estuando A Bossa: Nordeste Plaza

  • reviewed 08/2016

    The Sound Of Ghosts
    Come Home

  • reviewed 05/2009

    PLAYING FOR CHANGE
    Songs Around the World

  • reviewed 10/2008

    John Brown’s Body
    - Amplify

  • reviewed 07/2006

    SUNI PAZ
    Bandera Mia-Songs of Argentina

  • reviewed 11/2016

    Michel Camilo & Tomatito
    Spain Forever

Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.