Words by Jon Lusk. Photo by Lisa Boostani
Paddling her own Kanou
A former backing singer with Salif Keita, Mamani Keita is best known for her 2001 recording debut Electro Bamako, which found her accomplished Malinke roots-based song craft comfortably couched in the jazz, reggae and electronic settings of her producer, Marc Minelli. Kanou largely leaves behind the occasional rock guitar dynamics of her subsequent two albums with Nicolas Repac in favour of sparser, more rootsy arrangements by Marc-Antoine Moreau.
The veteran Rail Band guitarist Djeli Moussa Kouyaté provides hypnotic guitar work, punctuated by spicy interjections from ngoni luminary Moriba Koita. Mamani’s warm, silky voice is best showcased on the memorable title-track, while the frisky and infectious ‘Dounia’ confirms her status as a writer of rootsy, dance floor-friendly pop.
Mali is already blessed with a surfeit of fine female artists and Mamani Keita is sure to get the share of the limelight she deserves if she keeps making records as good as Kanou.
TRACK TO TRY: ‘Dounia’