Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara Soul Science

Rising British guitarist and producer Justin Adams, when he’s not in Robert Plant’s band, is rightly earning accolades for his stellar new disc of Saharan blues. The unique musical dialogue here is between Adams’ guitar and the ritti (a one-string bow predating the violin) played by Gambian virtuoso Juldeh Camara. Adams has made his name most recently with Tuareg rockers Tinariwen, but Camara contacted him after hearing Adams’ 2002 disc Desert Blues. When the two finally met, they began recording Soul Science within half an hour of beginning to play. The weary yet playful accents of West African blues and the brackish reverb of Western electric guitar never sounded so sweet playing off one another, with shuffling Malian percussion from Jah Wobble’s Salah Dawson Miller. Leadoff track "Yerro Mama” sets the tone with Camara’s wailing ritti and sensual, haunting chants, all the way through the upbeat, duelling strings of "Ngamen” and the griots of "Blue Man Returns.” Adams’ minimal production style lets the raw melodies play naturally, evoking Saharan fireside sessions and endless North African skies. This is must-hear African blues fusion. (World Village)