World Village/Chapa Blues Debademba : : Souleymane (BF/ML,2013)****
The label describes this album as being a mixture of “afrobeat, highlife and mbalax styles, with hints of Mandinka music mixed in, all combined with strong blues elements and the occasional nod to rock”. Elsewhere the notes also say that it is “Africopop with an urban groove”. Debademba means 'big family' in bambara (Mali's national language), which also describes or associates the warmth in its product. Debademba is a Paris-based duo consisting of guitarist Abdoulaye Traoré from Burkina Faso and Mohamed Diaby from Mali. Both artists have a different approach, which makes their combination interesting.
The first couple of tracks show an incredible skill of complexity in guitar playing, arranged in several layers of pickings, picked fast and with a whole variety of picking style influences (-of which I wish I knew and could name them more specifically-), mixed and combined with, perfectly in balance in sound, the at times jazzy piano, relaxed drums and electric bass, and just a bit of cello. The accompanying artists for the duo are more like studio-based minded musicians and they do not provide much else than a simple finishing touch. One track, “Saiwa”, is based upon a simple funky guitar rhythm and also features a bit of brass. Another one, “Dianamo”, has feather-brushed rhythms. There’s a bit more cello on the more sad tracks (“Souleymane”, “Dianamo” and “Djiki”). The last and instrumental track more clearly has blues rhythms pickings played on a hand clapping-like rhythm. The singer’s singing style more clearly has African origins (Mali) but I can’t place its style too exactly either. It is light poppy, energetic and warm, even with the inclusion of some sad and retrospective songs, at the same time it swings fast with some melodic accents. The songs are about the Africans and the things they have to deal with.