Samba Toure – Gandadiko (Glitterbeat)
LP / CD / DL
2 February 2015
Malian Songhai-blues master, Samba Toure, returns with his new album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
With 2013’s Albala album, Samba Toure made what was widely acclaimed as the best album of his life. At the age of 45 he sculpted a record that painted a sorry picture of the troubles and political crisis in his homeland. His new album maintains the position in Mali but now offers hope despite the title roughly translating as Burning Land.
Largely influenced by blues which Toure combines with traditional instrumentation, Gandadiko is also a mix of dance, funk and pshychedelia. Toure Idje Bibi (Black Fruits) for instance is as addictive as it gets with a groove that resonates throughout the song’s length and an infectious hook which surprisingly stays long after it has finished.
Where Samba seems to succeed where others fail is in his trueness and openness to his music. His lyrics are not compromised when complex backing is brought in and the overall feel of the album does bring about a sense of uplift.
Whilst he has the advantage of hindsight whereby he can teach his family the benefits of positivity it is in his music that he spreads the word to nations. On Su Wilile (The Living Dead) he warns of alcohol and drugs by using the story of an old friend whose life has been taken over by alcoholism.
Hope springs eternal in album closer Woye Kate (Come Back Home), a duet with Ahmed Ag Kaedi from Tuareg band Amanar, in which the prospect of talk and communication begins to supersede the chances of war. “We shall reconstruct the country, and we won’t let anyone speak for us again”. It’s an optimistic thought and one that spans the ten tracks on the album.
Toure’s guitar playing throughout is accomplished and ever changing, a true talent in todays World music scene.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here. You can also follow him on Twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news.