Samba Toure: Albala – album review

Samba Toure – ‘Albala’ (Glitterbeat Records)
LP/CD/DL
6 May 2013

A former collaborator with the late Malian legend Ali Farka Toure, Samba Toure has just released his new album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates has a listen.

The amount of new albums by African artistes currently being issued worldwide at the moment is quite astonishing, not only in their number but also in their sheer quality. ‘Albala’ by Samba Toure is no exception. On this, his third solo album (the title translates as ‘danger’), Toure sings of his concerns over the state of the world. Is it dark? Yes, it is. Is it great music? You’d better believe it.

In a lovely cd package, the lyric booklet not only has his native Somghai language but also the English translations and it’s absorbing stuff. Don’t be fooled by opener ‘Be Ki Don’ (‘Everybody Dance’), a song of celebration and of people singing and dancing together, for soon afterwards on ‘Fondora’ (‘Leave Our Road’) killers, rapists, thieves and looters are told to leave the cities which they have attacked. An indignant Samba says his piece.

 

Now approaching the age of 45, Samba didn’t have the best of starts to his life. His Father died before his birth and he was brought up by his Mother together with his Brother. Ironically, his Mother was one of the first women to sing with Ali Farka Toure an artist whose music he would later fall in love with andpeople  with whom he would also later collaborate with his own blues inspired blend.

Love song ‘Aye Go Mila’ (‘I Only Think About Her’) is hypnotic with Samba’s guitar constantly inspiring. On ‘Ago Djamba’ (‘Life Betrays Us’), he issues a warning – “Here, nobody is born rich but we all have the same value”. Again, blues based and sounding wonderful.

The album is moodier and more powerful than his last, ‘Crocodile Blues’, which received the Malian award for best international cd and is certainly at the very least, on a par with it. Even the title track, an instrumental, is engaging and addictive. Right up to album closer ‘Bana’ (‘Rain’) the album is captivating and oozes feeling and dedication. This is an album of considerable quality and one which should adorn many a music collection.

8/10

Visit the Samba Toure website here. Follow him on Twitter here and do Facebook stuff here.

All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is Heaven Is A Place On Pendle. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, easily one of the best radio shows on the BBC. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow his personal twitter, @hiapop.

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