African Voices

Elise - My favorite collection of lyrical African music with the hauntingly beautiful voices of Ayub Ogada and Vieux Diop.
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Omou Sangare, Ko Sira

Editorial Reviews's Best of 2000
The world knew Malian singer Oumou Sangare was special when her debut
Moussoulou became a bestseller across Africa. With Ko Sira, she's outdone herself. Not only does she again sing about the modern West African woman's experience, but she sings in a voice as beautiful as the Congo itself and with a dose of hearty, centered soul that's magnetic and musically vibrant. --Karen K. Hugg
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Editorial Reviews
Sultry-voiced Diop merges the acoustic African sounds of artists like Lokua Kanza (who appears on No Sant) and Henri Dikongue with the Western pop leanings of Youssou N'Dour. As such he is a world troubadour who just happens to be African, and fittingly he has assembled an eclectic global coterie of artists on this diverse collection of well-crafted and extremely musical songs. Consequently you will hear elements as diverse as Japanese opera vocals and Bretonese cornemuse (bagpipes) in the jazzy pop arrangements of his Senegal-based songs. Carefully sequenced, these 12 tracks range between folksy intimacy and full-on stadium anthems, all of them slickly produced and poised to position the work of this eloquent artist in any cosmopolitan record collection. --Derek Rath
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Cesaria Evora essential recording
Cesaria Evora, a Cape Verdean with a rich alto voice, has been accurately described as a cross between Edith Piaf and Billie Holiday. It wasn't until 1988, though, that Evora traveled to Paris to record, and her fourth album, 1992's Miss Perfumado, made her a major star in France and Portugal. Her 1994 album, Cesaria Evora, duplicated that triumph, and it's this latter recording which has become her first U.S. release. Evora, celebrated in Europe as the "Barefoot Diva," is now 52, but she is still able to give every word a breathy intimacy even as she fills it with a pitch-perfect, full-toned resonance. Drawing on the work of such top Cape Verdean songwriters as Nando Da Cruz, Amandio Cabral, and Manuel De Novas, she sings in Criuolo, a Creole variation of Portuguese. As in Brazil, another former Portuguese colony with a strong African influence, Cape Verde has produced a music which is light and airy even as it incorporates African rhythms and quartertones. The morna possesses the low-key tunefulness of an equatorial cabaret music, but Evora's vocals impart a world-weary gravity to these tales of homesickness and doomed love. Geoffrey Himes
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Ayub Ogada, En Mana Kuoyo

Editorial Reviews
Prior to a lot of travel and his eventual settling in England, Ayub Ogada was a member of the Luo tribe from a wedge of northern Kenya pinched between Uganda and Tanzania. Ogada's music is based on repetitious patterns plucked on the nyatiti, a stringed instrument reminiscent of the lyre. On En Mana Kuoyo (meaning "just sand"), he sings mellifluous, almost hypnotic ... melodies concerning home, his instrument, the weather, and injustice. --Richard Gehr More info, Listen to samples


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