The Rough Guide To Acoustic Africa

So ubiquitous is the sound of slapping strings and strumming chords across the vast African continent that acoustic music curls into practically every corner of life and culture there. Charting the different acoustic styles included here takes the listener on a criss-crossing journey across Africa: we begin in Niger, before visiting Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Cameroon, Mali, Sudan, Senegal and the Republic of Guinea. Not a bad round trip for just over seventy minutes’ worth of time, and without the cost of the air fare! 

Heading up a healthy West African contingent, we have Baye Fall Gnawa musician Nuru Kane and singer-songwriter Amadou Diagne both from Senegal. Also hailing from this region is the Guinean kora maestro Mory Kanté, Malian guitarist Samba Touré, Ghanaian palm-wine veteran Koo Nimo and Touareg troubadours Etran Finatawa. Swooping down to west Central Africa, Sally Nyolo fom Cameroon provides the upbeat and carefree track ‘Obili Éba’. Congolese guitarist Syran Mbenza celebrates the legacy of the great Congolese musician Franco with a new approach. Abdel Gadir Salim from Northern Sudan provides a sensitive oud-based composition on ‘Lemon Bara’. The unbelievable sounds of Zulu maskanda guitarist Shiyani Ngcobo are heard on this collection too. As are Sotho Sounds who hail from Lesotho and bring their brand of junk funk to the party.

The bonus album is an exclusive debut release by kora player Noumoucounda Cissoko. He weaves together his griot heritage with mbalax, blues, jazz, hip-hop and rock-inspired inspirations. Faling is his debut solo album and features Cissoko accompanied by Swiss musicians, Phat 4.