David Byrne's label has always had a refreshing approach to world music, searching out crossover styles that slip between the cracks of ethnic authenticity. In this case, it's West African music from the Seventies, when the influence of American psychedelic funk from the likes of James Brown, Sly Stone, The Chambers Brothers and Santana was combined with homegrown strains to produce crossbred Afro-funk variations. Ofo & The Black Company's "Allah Wakbarr" sounds most directly influenced by West Coast psychedelia, with its churning Afro-delic funk groove capped with strident lead guitar. At the opposite extreme, Sonny Bamba's "Porry" updates Dogon music with brass, organ and hypnotic guitar licks, and Tunji Oyelani & The Benders effect a juju-jazz hybrid on "Ifa". Sax and organ combine on "Keleya" by Moussa Doumbia, à la Fela Kuti, while Orchestre Régional de Kayes' "Sanjina" prefigures the elegance of Malian stars such as Salif Keita. Best of all is William Onyeabor's "Better Change Your Mind", an Afro-funk anti-imperialist protest piece blending infectious guitar licks with Kraftwerkian synth pads. Onyeabor scolds nations who "think this world is yours". As Love's a Real Thing shows, that's far from the truth.
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