Catalogue Number:PUT192
Release Date:2001-05-21
Review:Habib Koité is the most interesting new star on the West African music scene, and Baro shows why. While other singers from the Mandé tradition to which he belongs immerse themselves in Western sound worlds--with all the electronic aids which studios can provide--Koité sticks ever more tenaciously to his beloved acoustic instruments: guitars and drums, the harp-like kora, the lute-like ngoni, the balafon and the wooden xylophone. He's a crusader on behalf of what he fears may be a dying art, but this beguiling record suggests he need not worry too much. Everything is pervaded by a sweetness which does not cloy: there are songs here with as gritty a moral as anyone could wish. The subjects which get him and his band going are country matters: forbidden inter-tribal love, making up after a quarrel, explaining to your son that though you have no money you can still give him the good things of life; there are ecological laments, extended jokes and improving fables. But he's never preachy: bathe in his seductive musical warmth, and have a good time