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Adam Klein (recording as Lassine Kouyate): Dugu Wolo

http://www.adam-klein.com

Adam Klein’s most recent solo album, Wounded Electric Youth, was very well received here on Flyinshoes, and now he’s back with something completely different. Adam is based in Athens, Georgia, but a Peace Corps stint in Mali a decade or so ago brought him strong connections to the country, and a huge respect for its culture. Thus, Dugu Wolo is a set of songs predominantly written in the Bambara language and recorded with Malian musicians performing on traditional instruments. This is a remarkably soulful record, leaving a warm glow in its wake.  Many of the songs amount to homilies, “messages concerning development, hope, dignity and peace”, as Adam writes in his sleeve notes, and the delivery is so heartfelt (both vocally and instrumentally) that the dignity shines through.

         I don’t have huge familiarity with Malian music but I have enough to recognise the sounds and the spirit that comes through here. The fluid lines on electric guitar are augmented by warm, liquid sounds from kora and ngoni (held to be the distant ancestor of the banjo) and rhythms tapped out on a variety of instruments. Recorded over just four days, Adam says most parts were recorded on the first take, the initial response of great musicians to the song that he’d laid down as a base recording. At times there is a sublime beauty to the interplay of instruments, with the vocals remaining laid-back – conversational even. I’d imagine immense credit must go the mixing engineer for getting the feel of relaxed, organic music-making to shine through; there really is a strong sense of a few musical pals gathered round, playing off each other as the tropical evening draws on.

           Adam has gone to great lengths with his Malian collaborators to make this a properly Malian record, getting the lyrics and the melodies to feel right for a Malian audience. Two songs are recorded in English, however, and once or twice there’s a sense of American folk melody in the tune – just enough to nicely suggest the connections that may exist between two apparently separate traditions, the “Atlantic passage” that he says he heard in the playing of Malian bluesman, Lobi Traore. I have absolutely no idea how this record will go down with world music fans in the west or with the Malian audience it’s primarily intended for; all I can say is that it strikes me as a rather beautiful piece of work that can only help spread the idea of the interconnectedness of us all on this planet. As I write, Mali is going through a period of violent upheaval that rather brutally shoves aside earnest messages of public health and community togetherness; here’s hoping peaceful conclusions will be reached sooner rather than later, enabling a return to the spirit enshrined on Dugu Wolo.

John Davy

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This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

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www.euroamericanachart.eu

1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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