Album: Ben Zabo, Ben Zabo (Glitterhouse Records)

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The Independent Culture

Mali is associated with stately downbeat blues and effervescent kora playing, not punchy Nigerian-style Afrobeat.

But guitarist and band leader Zabo pulls it off with aplomb. The opening number "Wari Vo" explodes into life, ablaze with funky horns, balafon and guitar, and things don't let up. All the songs are sung in the Bo language in tribute to the relatively unknown culture of the Bwa people. As good as the real thing. Scrap that: this is the real thing.