I think in the West we underestimate the struggle for survival of good people against extremist Muslims in Africa and the Middle East. Although Mamadou Kelly was a respected musician, a moderate Muslim himself, his instruments were burned in the streets, while some colleagues even faced worse punishments. It was safer for him to stay in the bigger town Bamako. With his music he only expresses how honesty comes from within and is shown in practical life. He witnesses life on and along the river with some cultural diversity. Most basic expressions for songs, from his Peul tribe origin, show something of Mali’s unique expressions, like a rhythmical-melodic diverse picking of guitar combined with the harp-like kora, with one lead singer, the bard, whose voice receives parts of a sort of agreement of warm harmony voices accompanying the songs with him, spreading its message with an enriched vocal effect. Added to this we hear some background bass rhythm and a few ticking rhythms. While usually being part of a band called Alkibar, Afel Bocoum now is his backing support, and this is his first solo effort. There’s a hummed slight hypnotic feel about these backings, while the bard-like story telling comes forward most. A few tracks (track 4 and 7) clearly shows sympathy and the adaptation of the more bluesy Touareg musical elements, and possibly are about them, sung with similar warm harmonies compared to the other songs. “Fissa Maiga” shows something more of a Western typed guitar-picking theme that repeats its pickings between two minor chords beautifully, which could have embraced another welcome adaptive reference point. A very enjoyable warm-hearted record.