Various The Rough Guide to the Music of Mali

Many of the African artists that are best known on this side of the ocean come from Mali, and this disc is a virtual one-stop shop for Mali’s cream of the crop. Notably, Ali Farka Touré, the late guitarist, is represented several times but through various collaborations and his lineage, not by his solo material. "Simbo” features a duet between Ali Farka and famed kora player Toumani Diabate, from their album In the Heart of the Moon. Ali Farka also shows up on the moving "Tabara” with his son, Vieux Farka Touré, and is also the subject of a track by his nephew, Afel Bocoum. Boubacar Traore’s "Mouso Teke Soma Ye” is an excellent example of this guitarist’s haunting, lonesome style. But Mali isn’t just a breeding ground for virtuoso guitarists and folksy singers and this album does well to include several tracks featuring modern dance and rock sounds, most notably Amadou & Mariam’s "La Réalité” and Issa Bagayogo’s "Kalan Nege.” Rough guides can give a good taste of a region and this one emphasizes diversity and virtuosity. With Malian music, however, one small taste isn’t enough. (World Music Network)