. issue XVII : i .

by barathron

. artist : sekouba bambino .
. album : the griot’s craft .
. label : sterns .
. year : 2012 .
. grade : a minus .

Bambino

Sekouba “Bambino” Diabate is best known for his years singing with Guinee Conakry’s number one band, Bembeya Jazz National, and for his work with pan-African salsa combo Africando. Arguably Guinee’s best-known musical export, here he is working in the classic Mande griot style that he learned in his youth. For my money, no living singer handles this genre better than Sekouba Bambino – his voice is powerful and just plain gorgeous. The band is all acoustic and large: three guitarists, two ngoni players and one kora, plus percussion and background singers. Legendary producer Ibrahim Sylla supervised this project, and it obviously had a big enough budget so that the job could get done in a first-class manner. Kudos to lead guitarist Djessou Mory Kante for his elegant, sophisticated arrangements. Believe it or not, this is the first record of this type (acoustic, string-driven Mande griot) that Sekouba Bambino has ever made under his own name. More, please.

by Bill Lupoletti

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