Boubacar Traore Mali Denhou

Boubacar Traore's kindly, gritty voice and wonderfully idiosyncratic, cascading guitar playing are thoroughly captivating throughout this release. Written away from civilization in the fields outside of Bamako, Traore's first studio album in six years contains a dozen new songs showcasing his intimate, intuitive connection with his instrument, as well as his beloved land. The album's flow is a testament to his sublime, singular style; he is a veteran Malian bluesman whose musical virtue is contained in the depth of his songs. Boubacar's guitar riffs channel a deeply knowledgeable appreciation for Mandingo music played on the kora ("M'Badehou"), mixed with traces of Muddy Waters-inspired Chicago blues ("Mali Denhou") and Dylan-esque vocal subtlety ("Farafina Lolo Lora"). It's no wonder Traore has influenced many of today's leading guitarists, including Bill Frisell. Fellow Malian musicians Ali Farka Toure and his son, Vieux, both nod to Boubacar as the patriarch of the Malian Blues. Traore is not only a blues man, but a good man. One listen to Mali Denhou and you'll understand. (Lusafrica)