Unmoist is the word I want to bring in here for my own special usage—the man’s voice like a dry little brush, the n’goni dryly trotting, faster or slower, like an animal with a long way to go before it reaches the end of whatever journey it’s on, although it likes to break out at times, kicking its camel-heels in a quickstep during “Dana Mago” and bucking in “Yeleko”.
A woman comes in, too—why don’t they do more with her? She has a sharp bullhorn voice in the jelimuso way. She rises, erupts, then submerges. A million trickling notes at various volumes widdle into the sand as it closes over her head. The n’goni player Andra Kouyaté has worked with other Malian neo-trad musicians (Rokia Traoré for one) and with Saro he steps independently into the same neo-trad arena, leading his band, Sèkè Chi. The album works at a modest volume but the operation is intricate. Quietude, not minimalism.
// Notes from the Road
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