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Review: Niyo by Mamadou Barry

By Rose Skelton
Posted on Monday, 27 July 2009 00:00

Niyo?, Mamadou Barry, World Village

A veteran of the vibrant Guinean cultural scene, Mamadou Barry shines on this self-production. He performs Afrobeat, jazz, soul and funk tinged with Latin melodies and the sounds of the African rhythmic repertoire. Trained in Cuba and then by North Koreans, he became leader of Kaloum Star, the state orchestra, and played with all the Guinean greats. His Afrobeat – hard to replicate convincingly outside of Nigeria – is driven by the nagging rhythm and bold saxophone blasts definitive of the style, and in ‘Tala’, a Soussou melody popular throughout Guinea, the saxophones swing elegantly. Finest of all is ‘Sumbouya’, sung by the young Sierra Leonean Sia Tolno whose voice drips from the swing rhythm like tropical rain, and which features a guitar solo that will quicken the heart.

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