"Mamani Keïta, a fully nuanced singer in the best of African vocal arts traditions, hailing from Mali, has put together a group that combines West African traditional instruments, such as the stringed ngoni (played beautifully by Moriba Koita) and percussion, with the electricity of bass guitar and the spectacularly right-on electric guitar of Djeli Moussa Kouyaté.
All this on her latest album Kanou (World Village).
The combination of the natural bluesiness of the tradition, the call-and-response vocals and the strong groove conjoins with a rock-blues presence that is near irresistible.
Ms. Keïta sings with complete command and authority…Excellent album! Very recommended.”
World Village releases praised in Songlines Magazine!
Violons Barbares - Saulem Ai:
"Ornate melodies alongside rock-like string riffs and robust hand percussion, and there’s a sense of humour, with one track titled ‘Saturday Yurt Fever’. There is a broad range of tunes, and democratic apportioning of solos and accompaniment makes for a seamless fusion."
Mamani Keita - Kanou:
"Mali is already blessed with a surfeit of fine female artists and Mamani Keita is sure to get the share of the limelight she deserves if she keeps making records as good as Kanou." Top of the World
En Chordais, Kyriakos Kalaitzidis - The Musical Voyages of Marco Polo:
"With such a stirring tale of adventure in distant places it is hard not to get carried away in your imagination… for armchair traveling the rest of this disc can’t be beaten." 4 Stars
"Debademba has some very hip Afrobeat-and-beyond sounds going for it. We take a peek at their second album Souleymane (World Village) today. It’s contemporary Africa at its very best. Abdoulaye Traoré from Burkina Faso plays guitar like an angel, with all that the instrument has evolved into from both a rhythmic and a line-building viewpoint. He is countered and seconded by the finessed and driving soulfulness of Malian singer Mohamed Diaby…This is magnificent music"
"WRIR’s CMJ New World Top Ten
1 MAMANI KEITA | Kanou | World Village
2 WILLIAM ONYEABOR | World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor? | Luaka Bop
3 TED SIROTA’S HEAVYWEIGHT DUB | The Scientist Meets Ted Sirota’s Heavyweight Dub | Liberated Zone…”
"I wondered what Mamani Keita was going to sound like now, going solo for the first time on her fourth album, as all the blurbs were reminding me, without a Nicholas Repac or a Marc Minelli double-billing with her. Nobody wrapping her up with a mixing desk. Her own name to the fore on the songwriting credits. What was she going to do?
…The reduction in satire, if it exists, is a language-borne sign of her return to an unambiguously Mandinka area of music. The sharpest arrows of her own voice are partnered and reflected by a battery of West African strings: guitar strings, kora strings, and ngoni strings. The guitarist has been borrowed from the Super Rail Band, so he knows something about propelling a tune. But it interests me when I notice that she has decided not to use the slow burn that she must have heard so often in the tradition of pop music that she’s borrowing from, the patient tumbling sound that made such an indelible impression on a musician like Salif Keita…
Kanou is a pop-rock album and it’s also an impatient album. It never uses four seconds to get a motif across if it can do it in three…”
"…WME: I noticed that both you and Rokia Traore come from the Bambara tribe and tradition and both of you have strong messages in your songs about women, relationships and social messages. Do you find that your songs give you a platform for teaching others how to live in the world more peacefully?
MK: I try to build my song around themes that seem universal to me. I often speak about children and women in the world. Maltreatment of children and the difficulty faced by women affect me because of places I’ve lived where saw all this in my childhood. These are issues that affect me and they’re not specific to Africa. These problems exist throughout the world; in all societies people who are weaker suffer. I have this rebellion inside me that makes me want to sing in order to give voice to the weaker and to give them hope. We need to talk about it, we have to call to mind and make sure everybody knows what’s going on in the world. We especially we have to try to touch the heart of men.
WME: I noticed that the song titled Marimasa on Espace appears again on Kanou but with different spelling Marie Massa. Why did you choose to rerecord this song? What is the message of the song?
MK: I re-recorded Marimasa because there is a strong message in this song. Marimasa mean the Good Lord. He is the one who witnessed everything that happens in the world, good and bad. The idea is simple in this song. One that makes good (deeds) on earth, the Good Lord sees him and is grateful. The one who does bad things, the Good Lord also sees him, and bad people will answer their acts in front of God. It was important to me to include this song in Kanou because of its simple but strong message. I had to re-record it and to give it my own musical color…”
Mamani Keita - Kanou (ZikNation Live Session) (by OlivierOff)
Mamani Keita’sKanou is out now on World Village! Get it here on iTunes: http://ow.ly/t9HwB
"Djeli Moussa Kouyaté’s guitars dance around Mamani Keita’s warm vocals and choruses, surrounding them like a mother’s arms. Tasty layers of these guitars are augmented further by ngoni and percussion" - WNYC New Sounds
World Village has forged itself a reputation for excellence on the international musical scene in just a few short years. Seeking out talents from all around the world, carefully designed covers and booklets: these are the key values of the label, which is run by four producers working between France, the USA, Spain and the UK, who pursue an ambitious signing policy.
Jazz Village, the newest label in the Harmonia Mundi family, allows audiences to experience the best of current jazz music, from Europe to the Americas, from traditional to modern, through urban soul and new sound crossbreeds. On the menu: a dozen yearly releases featuring musical veterans, young idols and bright emerging talents.