. issue XV : vi .
Mamani Keïta is a Malian singer who sang behind two of the greats, Salif Keita and Kasse Mady Diabate, early in her career, then moved to France in the 1980’s. She’s carved out her own niche, combining her classic Bambara vocals and traditional instruments like kora and ngoni with rock arrangements and electronic production. Her 2002 collaboration with Marc Minelli, Electro Bamako, was a pioneer in Malian fusion music; since then she’s made two albums with guitarist-producer Nicolas Repac, of which this is the second. Like her countrywoman Rokia Traore, Keïta’s is the sound of today’s multicultural West Africa, a world where the line between tradition and American/European pop music is increasingly blurred. And like her countryman Issa Bagayogo, Keita uses electronics to accent and enhance the essential Malian elements in her music. Both of those two artists are much better known (at least in the USA) than Mamani Keïta; that’s an oversight this fine album should help to address.