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Folila by Amadou & Mariam
Released: Feb 2012
Label: Nonesuch
Originally a two-part project, Folila relocates an NYC-based crossover attempt and an Africanized reworking of those same tracks under the same glorious roof. Mali's magic couple graciously hosts mournful desert blues and finger-popping indie, shimmering koras and wheezing rock organs, lushly hybrid textures and delicate African blues (the lovely "Sans Toi"). Then there's the guest list, which ranges from instant kismet (Santigold, Theophilus London) to awkward (Jake Shears) to uncomfortably fascinating (Bertrand Cantat). Folila ("music") is more than a title: It's a call to action.
Rachel Devitt
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