Sidi Toure - Koima
Unlike Western African neighbors such as Nigeria and Ghana, Mali usually doesn't come up in conversations about great musical hotbeds. Singer Sidi Toure is changing that. The Guitarist's new "Koima" (meaning "go hear"), like his debut "Sahel Folk," draws from local Songhaï folk and dance rhythms, and the benefits of recording in a studio (his debut was recorded in his sister's home). Toure keeps his accompaniment spare-guitar, calabash and violin, along with a fairy strong and joyful female backing chorus, but the effect in terms of emotional impact is wide and generous.
The female chorus gives songs like "Ni See Ay Ga Done" and "Maimouna" as memorable and gorgeous a gospel feel as their drone contributes to a haunting feel. The depth of sounds and styles drawn on by Sidi Toure include eerie folk blues "Aiy Faadji," the resigned but upbeat "Chacun Sa Chance" and the swirling dance track "Woy Tiladio ("Beautiful Woman"), which is almost ceremonial, like a wedding or quest song. The title track itself is another drone, but with a more insistent rhythm and sharp horn interjections.
Koima is a special place in the myths of Sidi Toure's home town of Gao. According to the press notes, Koima is, in Malian folklore, "the meeting place for the most powerful wizards of the world." "Koima" the record has its mystical, shamanic elements, but at heart this is an earthy collections of song about people and in the struggles of the heart that sometimes lead to sadness and regret, and at other times to hope and humor. Sidi Toure knows the ways of the heart as well as he does the sounds and traditions of his corner of the world.
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