August 17, 2011

Lobi Traore | Bwati Kono

ARTIST:  Lobi Traore 
TITLE:  Bwati Kono (In The Club) 
LABEL:  Kanaga System Krush 
REVIEW:  Lobi Traore, the Bambara Bluesman, was a remarkable blues-rock electric guitarist-singer from Mali who passed away a year ago at 49 years of age. This set captures Lobi performing live with a small combo (balafon or second guitar, bass guitar, drum kit and djembe) in two Bamako nightclubs.  Among Lobi’s heroes were John Lee Hooker and Angus Young of AC/DC; more so than that of any other desert bluesman, Lobi’s music directly references American blues (especially the trance-like North Mississippi sound of Fred McDowell, Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside) and rock ‘n’ roll.  The live recording does a great job of capturing his expansive soloing, which takes unexpected turns into aggressive noise that remind me of none other than Jimi Hendrix (Lobi played finger-style through a fuzz box and a flanger, a most unusual combination).  The band provides a solid fundamental underpinning for Lobi’s soulful singing and especially for his harmonic flights.  You don’t have to be a fan of African music to enjoy this one -- if you dig Hendrix or Clapton this will push your buttons.  Great stuff. 
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