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Sussa: Keira (Soundway Records)

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:40 pm
by Adam Blake
My daughter gave me this for Christmas and I've played it through three or four times now. It's very hard to take it off the turntable. It's an easy record to love - the sounds and presentation are very attractive.

The back story is that British musician and producer Huw Bennett went to Gambia in search of inspiration (as you do) and was shown great hospitality by the Mandinka Griots. (The cynic in me is imagining the scene along the lines of: "Here we go. Another honky looking for a bit of validation. Bless him. Shall we be nice to him? Yeah, OK." - I'm sure it wasn't like that at all, but I must have my little joke.)

So: ngonis, balafons, koras galore. Beautifully played and recorded, as you'd expect, with a gentle and subtle bass and drum and texture added by Bennett.

Ye good old Cultural Colonialism Blues? Not really. This is as genuine a collaboration as you can get. Bennett has left in several spoken section where the Gambian musicians explain what they're doing and the sleeve notes are also very informative. In fact, you could say this is a new way of doing what the likes of Transglobal Underground were doing in the 90's. The respect for the traditional music is palpable, but not stifling. This is a record for dancing to, not studying - although you can study it if you want. The music itself is gorgeous. The textures and timbres just impossible to resist. It's a little odd that the first full length track - "Mamadou" - also has the most radical production. It sort of shimmers psychedelically at you, making me wonder if there was something up with the pressing, but it wins you over after a minute or two. I would have put it last but I guess Bennett knows what he's doing.

This is a lovely record. Highly recommended to old World Music heads such as can be occasionally found still frequenting this forum. It's a new day, folks. The kids are grooving on it.

https://www.soundwayrecords.com/Shop/Do ... SWR_RE_113

Re: Sussa: Keira (Soundway Records)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:44 am
by judith
I found Keira by Sussa on YouTube. I like the spacy spareness of this track, Tomora. I haven't heard all of the tracks yet and I wasn't able to listen to Mammadou as I have a bit of a headache and it made me sea-sick. I thought it was interesting though and am curious to see how it sounds to me when I feel better.

Thanks for letting me know about this album, Adam.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiHDl6ysUNA

Re: Sussa: Keira (Soundway Records)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:38 pm
by willvine
Thanks for the recommendation Adam. I really haven't bought any records or listened to much World music for quite a few months now. Sort of tired, uninspired, and out of the game really.

Suddenly I meet a guy in a pub. He's half my age and playing afrobeat/techno/electro/dub stuff on an internet radio station. We talk and find that our record collections need to meet one another's. Clearly we're in the same ballpark but a generation apart. He is trying to find his way into what he calls the roots of what he plays. He wants to hear jazz and to know about World (particularly African) music from the past couple of decades. I have a project, and he looks to me as some sort of expert (which I decidedly am not.). But I have started listening, and buying again.

I was going to bang on a bit here about the cultural colonialism and the interesting generational approaches to musical fusions but I couldn't quite get the words together before the smoke alarm notified me that my breakfast was ready. I may get back to this. Meanwhile thanks again for the recommendation. I'll try to hear it later.

What else should I not have missed in 2016? Anybody?

Re: Sussa: Keira (Soundway Records)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:16 pm
by Adam Blake
willvine wrote:I was going to bang on a bit here about the cultural colonialism and the interesting generational approaches to musical fusions but I couldn't quite get the words together


Fascinating, I think. Today's World Music fusion kids seem to be a lot more respectful of their sources. Not to say that the likes of TGU were disrespectful but they definitely imposed themselves on their source material in a much more forceful way.