Album review: Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, Jama Ko (Out Here)


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The Independent Culture

Whilst Bassekou Kouyate was recording Jama Ko in Bamako, the country was invaded by Ansar Dine fundamentalists, forcing a political response – the album title means “a big gathering of people”, and songs such as “Sinaly” and “Segu Jajiri” celebrate legendary warriors who resisted forced Islamisation in previous centuries.

But Kouyate's electrification of his ngoni lute is just as effective a sign of resistance: fed through a wah-wah pedal, his serpentine, fleet-fingered lead lines gain a fresh, assertive power on songs like the title-track and “Ne Me Fatigue Pas”, where his band Ngoni Ba's muscular bassline and double-time percussion charges along like the most bullish of rock'n'roll grooves.

Download: Jama Ko; Ne Me Fatigue Pas; Sinaly; Kele Magni; Mali Koori