Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Afrocubism (2010)


Not many people know that the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon of the late '90s came about by accident. Ry Cooder's original intent was to pair Cuban musicians with two musicians from Mali, creating true Afro-Cuban music. The Mali musicians couldn't get visas to come to Cuba and the sessions changed focus. The rest is history. In 2010, the recording not only took place (finally), but they took it up a notch by inviting additional musicians from Mali. These guys are playing instruments I've never heard of. I had to go to the Interwebs to find out more about balfons, koras, and ngoni. A blafon is a keyboard instrument similar to a xylophone or marimba. A kora is a stringed instrument with 21 strings, sort of a cross between a lute and a harp. A ngoni is a 6 stringed instrument. In any case, the addition of these African musicians give this music an entirely different flavor. This is not Buena Vista Social Club. It's similar, but the music is more delicate: fewer horns, softer vocals, a different touch on the guitars. I'm not trying to be "hip world music guy" but I really like this music. Perfect for the back porch on a warm evening.

Tracks: I'm able to enjoy the entire sonic fingerprint of this group, without zeroing in on particular tracks. Okay, that whole "sonic fingerprint" bs is a bit much. It's a good mix of 50 year old traditional songs and new compositions. The only track I previously knew was the classic Guantanamera, which closes the album.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None, yet, but a tip of the hat to my friend Jim for drawing my attention to this release.

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