GB 059LP GB 059LP

LP version. 180 gram vinyl; includes download code. When Malian singer and guitarist Samba Touré was planning Wande ("The Beloved"), his third Glitterbeat release, he had strong ideas for the way it should sound. But once the sessions were over, he knew he had something entirely different, something even more satisfying: a collection of songs where warmth filled the grooves of every song. "We had a totally different album in mind," Touré admits, "a return to something more traditional, almost acoustic. I think this album is less dark than the previous ones. It has some sad and serious songs, but it sounds more peaceful. All the first takes have been kept." That spark of spontaneity fires across the whole disc. It was recorded quickly, in "about two weeks, only in the afternoons and with breaks on weekend to play in weddings, so it was very relaxed!" Wande is just as direct and powerful as Touré's previous work, but everything moves with a bright, danceable sensibility. Gone are the intense guitar and ngoni duels, replaced with short, incisive guitar solos and a solid, laid-back groove. Only two songs had been written before going into the studio: the title cut, which is a love song to his wife, and "Tribute To Zoumana Tereta", a memorial to the late sokou fiddle player who often collaborated with Touré. Everything else came together almost on the spot, like the rhythmic "Yo Pouhala", composed one afternoon and recorded the next, or "Yerfara", with an impeccable, chunky rhythm guitar riff to make Keith Richards weep with envy. The emphasis throughout is on rhythm, and the tama talking drum that's always been a feature of Touré's music takes a place near the front of the band. "I've always loved tama, for its sounds . . . It's a symbol of call to reunion." Starting out as a guitarist in a soukous band, everything was altered when he became an accompanist to Mali's greatest legend, the late Ali Farka Touré (with whom his mother had performed). Later, as a solo artist, he's become renowned across the globe for his passionate guitar work and fiery singing, one of the masters of his art. But, Touré says, don't call it desert blues. Don't call it African rock. That's lazy. It doesn't need labels like that. Instead, call Wande the unexpected. Call it joyous. Call it the music Samba Touré is making right now.