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Kadialy Kouyate Kadialy Kouyate
Album: Nemo
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 7
Website: http://www.kouyatekadialy.com

I first became aware of Kadialy Kouyate as part of Sheffield International fusion band Rafiki Jazz. Kadialy, singer and musician from Senegal, West African is, part of the Griot, bardic troubadour and story teller tradition. Like the much missed Malian musician Issa Bagayogo, Kadialy mixes traditional acoustic instruments and sounds with modern instruments and textures to make a lively bubbling fusion.

"Ye Nale", carried on Kouyate's rippling kora, Amadou Ndir's characterful bass and Abdoulaye Samb's wonderful guitar is a bright upbeat opener with a very contemporary feel. "Juguya" a song of celebration with a denser soundtrack of bubbling sounds, percussion and Kadialy's layered voice is another infectious track. "Signoya" features a superb vocal and a earworm melody carried by guitar and kora. The track builds to a joyful crescendo with Samb's guitar in one ear and Kouyate's kora in the other while Giuliano is all over the drum kit. "Kuno" is about freedom, with its message carried over a very sophisticated blend of melodies and electronics. It opens with a drum sound as huge as John Bonham and the kora swirls through the musical mist in a way I hadn't heard before, captivating alongside Kadialy's slightly treated but effecting vocal. Superb. "Agna Bara" is all about space, a catchy kora motif, the evocative Calabesh, Griselda Sanderson's unique fiddle and Amadou's superb bass lines. Kadialy sings about hard work and dreams over the hypnotic layered tune. "Fondinke" a song about the youth and their future, is another infectious dance tune with layers of percussion and percussive motifs from the guitar and kora. Again the two instruments mesh and counterpoint agreeably in opposite speakers, with Jim Palmers engineering and production creating an interesting soundscape. "Mamadou" is a song of friendship, dedicated to the percussionist Mamadou Sarr. The track opens on a reflective note with distant crowd noise and a resonant kora. Kadialy sings and plays beautifully over a steady beat from Osella with some of his most thoughtful kora notes. The track cuts between reflective and dense frenetic dance with some studio trickery, the overall effect is, like shafts of sunlight. The album ends on applause, NEMO means blessing, and it definitely leaves you feeling uplifted, carried, full of light and blessed. This is a musical triumph and one I will keep playing and is a very strong contender for an end of year top ten.

Marc Higgins