Mory Kante ‘La guinéenne’ (Discograph) 4/5

Guinean kora player and singer is best known in the UK for his minor pop chart hit ‘Yeke Yeke’ but that should not detract from the fact that he is a serious roots musician who is capable of coming up with infectious rhythms. He is on top form on this latest album that should appeal to a wide audience, yet is still firmly rooted in modern Guinean roots music. His nasal vocal delivery is immediately recognisable and the smooth background vocal harmonies and slick production sound which has a slight 1980s retro feel to it. A potential dancefloor favourite is the smiply chanted ‘Oh, Oh, Oh’ where Mory Kante has perfected the pop-roots style to West African music. It is unashamedly commercial and actually remains long in the heart and mind. The brassy opener, ‘Yarabini’ is almost as infectious a number and features some trademark kora playing in the background. For fans of more traditional grooves, Kante is able to deliver with the compelling ‘Sarantan’. A strong all around album that should not be overlooked. Tim Stenhouse