The Malian singer Kassé Mady Diabaté is famous for many reasons. One of the common talking points in relation to his music career is his collaboration with Taj Mahal and Toumani Diabate on the LP Koulandjan, which President Barack Obama cited as one of his favorite albums. However, above all else, Diabaté is notable for his contributions to the West African music scene, particularly in his native Mali. Although he sings in Bambara, the primary language in Southern Mali, his music fuses traditions from within his country, throughout his region, and indeed the whole world. Kirike, Diabaté‘s latest recording, is a continuation of the vocalist’s authentic musical exploration. The album is yet another example of why some people, including his fellow Malian Salif Keita, call him Mali’s greatest living singer.
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Gothenburg, Sweden-based musician Adna has caught a lot of attention globally for her moody and beautiful brand of songwriting. Her music’s somewhat chilly melodies in no doubt are informed by her native Sweden, a country renowned for its melancholy musical exports. (Even the otherwise cheery ABBA went out on a gloomy note with their final LP The Visitors.) Following the momentum built up from her debut LP Night, Adna has readied her sophomore outing, Run, Lucifer, for a 2015 release. In addition to the recently released lead single “Living”, Adna has also covered the tune “Thank God for Sending Demons” by the Swedish producer Kleerup to lead in to the release of her new album.
With a résumé including membership in two bands (Uncle Earl and Sometymes Why), a stint on A Prarie Home Companion, and recording with Sufjan Stevens, Kristin Andreassen has already well proven her musical chops. She also displays them quite well on her 2006 solo debut Kiss Me Hello. Now, Andreassen is preparing for the release of her sophomore studio LP, Gondolier, in early 2015. Below you can stream the tender folk of “The New Ground”, a warm introduction to the music that is to come on the album.
Try as one may, lumping in the North Carolinian musician Jake Xerxes Fussell in with the contemporary folk revival just won’t do. While bands like Mumford and Sons use folk as a veneer over what is undeniably a rockist songwriting mentality, Fussell is a deeply read student of the blues and American roots music, having studied at the Southern Studies department at the University of Mississippi. That experience is in addition to his years playing music and touring, as well as an appearance on A Prairie Home Companion. His philosophy and praxis is best summed up by this quotation, taken from the press release to his forthcoming self-titled LP: “Fussell recognizes that folk revivalist preciousness about spurious genre boundaries often feels absurdly at odds with the unruliness and restlessly inventive practices of tradition bearers-no revival or reenactment gear is necessary when the music lives and breathes and throws around hips and knees like these.”
Below you can stream “Raggy Levy”, the first track from Jake Xerxes Fussell to be released.
In early November, PopMatters premiered the self-titled EP of Milán, the latest project by the Brooklyn-based musician Maria Neckham. With these tunes still fresh out of the recording studio, Milán’s music has already attracted artists looking to remix her work. Below you can hear Stafford’s remix of the Milán EP cut “DK6”, here given a sprightly rendition driven by bouncy synth notes.