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 06/2005

    Kiran Ahluwalia
    Kiran Ahluwalia

  • reviewed 07/2008

    ELJURI
    En Paz

  • reviewed 10/2004

    Luciano
    Lessons of Life

  • reviewed 04/2007

    VARIOUS
    PUTUMAYO WORLD PARTY

  • reviewed 11/2015

    Phases
    For Life

  • reviewed 01/2008

    ANTIBALAS
    Security

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.