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Big String Theory, CD (£11.50)
BAJOUROU (which means 'big string' or 'big tune') unites two of Mali's prime guitar shapers - Bouba Sacko and Djelimadis Tounkara (now winner for Africa of BBC Radio 3's Music of the World Awards) and singer Lafia Diabate in a superstar acoustic trio, recorded deep and direct in the Malian night.
During November of last year, intrepid GlobeStyle person Ben Mandelson and Lucy Duran journeyed to Bamako in Mali. There they recorded direct-to-DAT Bajourou, a superb trio of Malian acoustic stars. The band's leader and electric guitarist Jalimadi Tounkara and singer Lafia Diabate were part of the legendary Super Rail Band (in fact, Lafia was the singer who replaced Mory Kante and Salif Keita when they left for solo careers). Rounding off the trio, Bouba Sacko is the most in-demand accompanist and arranger for all of the cantatrices or singing women of Mali. Big String Theory is a showcase for Bajourou (in Manding "Big String"), the Malian music of celebration and relaxation. The ambient recording captures a music of many subtle delights, framed against a natural acoustic background and the distant Malian night. The tour Mali Unplugged is a more acoustic showcase for music that has often become synonymous with the loud, electric performance. Mali Unplugged brings it all back home to the glorious acoustic roots of its traditions.