Last year I had the pleasure of promoting a record called Ladilikan, from Malian group Trio Da Kali and Kronos Quartet. It was an incredible mix of strings and traditional African instruments like balafon and kora. This record put me on a hunt for West African music and has led me to this beauty, Yasimika, by Djeli Moussa Diawara (of Guinea). It’s widely regarded as one of the great masterpieces of West African music.
The balafon, guitar and kora playing is fleet of foot, whereas the vocals are wide and take up a lot of space – filling up all the little cracks left in the instrumentation. It’s all very beautiful and smooth, despite so many small parts going on at once.
If you’re looking to get into the vibrant, colorful world of African music, this would be a fantastic place to start.