|Review:||Senegalese vocalist and guitarist Baaba Maal first rose to Western attention with a wondrous 1987 recording entitled Diaam Leeli, and a BBC television show documenting a special concert in London in 1988. For nearly two decades previously, he had been one of Senegal's most revered vocalists, no easy feat in a land so noted for its musicians that many are considered far more important than governing politicians. Accompanied by second guitarist Mansour Seck, Baaba Maal sings and plays simple, haunting songs built on chiming, repetitive acoustic guitar cycles and intricate, elaborate vocal exchanges. The title track is a tale of separation and loss, while other songs like "Dogata" "Yero Mama" and "Mariama" celebrate the strengths and glories of famous warriors and great men, or tell of the beauty of women. The music of Baaba Maal reaches beyond the simple or mundane, existing in a realm where the spiritual and the mystic intersect with the fabric of the everyday; in Maal's hands, even simple and traditional working songs of the Senegalese people are escalated into something far greater in value.
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