On Acoustic Africa, you’ll discover gentle folk songs from Senegal, a protest song from South Africa, blues-tinged ballads from Mali and much more. The performers on this album are social activists, building awareness of the current conditions in Africa that affect the region and the world. They sing of love and faith, pain and oppression, and their ability to unite people.
Vusi Mahlasela is an active social commentator who often addresses issues of social and political significance in his homeland. His gripping lyrics and lovely melodies on "Basimanyana" demonstrate why Mahlasela is also a leading figure in the contemporary South African music scene.
One of Africa’s most world-renowned performers, Habib Koité has shared the stage with some of the world’s best-known artists. On the track "Baro," Koité’s wistful vocals with swirling rhythms and intertwined harmonies demonstrate his distinctive sound. Koité’s music video for "Wari" is a bonus enhancement on the CD, as well as one of Koité’s best-loved songs.
Other artists of note include Diogal Sakho, Laye Sow, Angelique Kidjo, and Eneida Marta.
Later this fall Putumayo will translate the experience of the Acoustic Africa collection into a live performance setting, bringing together three of the African continent’s most gifted singer-songwriters on one stage. The Putumayo Presents: Acoustic Africa Concert Tour featuring Acoustic Africa artists Habib Koité from Mali, Vusi Mahlasela from South Africa and Dobet Gnahoré from Ivory Coast will travel to more than 40 cities in North America and Europe, giving audiences a rare and unique opportunity to experience first-hand the dynamic performances of these truly enigmatic musicians.
A portion of Putumayo’s proceeds from the sale of this CD will be donated to Mercy Corps in support of their efforts to help AIDS victims and the victims of the civil war in Darfur.
This flowingly well-sequenced collection of semi-acoustic tracks, some of which have a smoothly mainstream FM-radio feeling while others are more roots-oriented, is just the thing to unwind after a stressful workday or get the weekend off to an effervescent yet relaxed start. South African troubadour Vusi Mahlasela and Senegalese pop icon Diogal are heard to great effect, as are Congolese stars Faya Tess and Lokua Kanza, entwined in a lusciously Cuban-rumba-influenced duet. A lesser-known Cape Verdean songstress named Gabriela Mendes swings her way through a typically dance-like ditty and Dobet Gnahoré of Ivory Coast makes a similarly strong impression. A previously unreleased tune by Angelique Kidjo of Benin rounds the set out; every compilation should ideally offer something new, not just retreads, so this is definitely a good thing. Another important selling point: a portion of the proceeds from this album will be donated to Mercy Corps in support of their efforts to help victims of AIDS and the civil war in Darfur, and to Oxfam America and Oxfam Novib''s "Make Trade Fair." --Christina Roden
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