Salif Keita & Bwani Junction
- Stewart Smith
- 15 February 2013
Celtic Connections, The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, Fri 1 Feb 2013
Is any genre safe from the beige hand of indie? There's the odd trace of Nigerian high-life and Soweto pop in Edinburgh support act Bwani Junction's guitar and vocal lines, but fundamentally this is stodgy indie, more Arctic Monkeys than Talking Heads or Dirty Projectors.
Throughout his career Malian superstar Salif Keita has sought to extend the range of his sophisticated Afro-pop, and this year's Talé sees him working with Phillipe Cohen-Solal of Gotan Project to incorporate elements of hip-hop, dub and disco-house into his sound. Cohen-Solal's production comes from a naff millennial realm of Carhatt jeans and chill-out lounges, but live, it benefits from the power of a mighty PA system, giving the crunching hip hop breaks and infectious Bamako beats presence and weight. While there are a few more reflective moments, such as the gorgeous 'Yamore' from Keita's largely acoustic 2003 masterpiece, Moffou, the majority of this show is aimed squarely at the dancefloor, with a laptop DJ bringing the beats, bass and samples, while the band provide calabash, conga, electric guitar and calele n'goni (Malian lute). And then there is Keita himself, whose golden voice, flecked with grit and keen edged, cuts through it all to glorious effect.