Boubacar Traoré: Mali Denhou
Malian musician still holds the power that raises him above many other proponents of the 'Saharan sounds' genre
Back in 1990, Malian singer and guitarist Boubacar Traoré recorded Mariama, a debut that captured the bittersweet yearnings of love. Most who heard it became instant fans and those who saw him play in a tiny club in Newcastle (the closest he’s ever got to Scotland) were blown away.
Traoré retains that power, scoring points over others delivering comparative Saharan sounds because of the shapely way his songs mine emotions, digging into feelings to create a peculiarly wise African style of soul. Gentler than Ali Farka Touré, the sheer beauty of his spare guitar work here with thrilling harmonica riffs from Vincent Bucher and support from a wonderful combo make this an ace recording.