Album Review: Salif Keita – Talé

Talé is the most recent offering from ‘the golden voice of Africa’, Salif Keita as he joins forces with a host of performers to combine his simplistic guitar melodies and soulful voice with an eclectic medley creating a strange fusion of music that will get your feet moving.

Talé is virtually impossible to categorise as it incorporates such a complex infusion of so many different styles of music.  It embodies a traditionalist element throughout with sounds that transport you straight back into the 70s but blends them jauntily with a more contemporary sound to create an album that not only defies genre but time itself.  This timeless collection incorporates a diverse range of instruments from the likes of the humble guitar and piano to the more exotic sounds of the balafon and calabash to help create these captivating medleys.

The resulting music is perfectly tailored to Keita’s rich, expressive vocals and the product is an album that feels as if it has been steeped in culture whilst managing to retain a bold, new feeling.  It’s like nothing you’ve ever heard before.  His eccentric compositions meander from skilful, disco-twinged songs like Da which will have your hips moving; to the uplifting, funky swagger of the likes of Talé.  Somewhere in between there’s the simple element of a strange recognition as it’s impossible to ignore the sampled background from Samfi – none other than the B-52s Planet Claire.  The song itself blends seamlessly into the music and combines in a way you would never have imagined for the likes of the B-52s.

Talé is a rich, traditional album that pushes the boundaries of contemporary music and creates its own niche in the market.  Keita has a staggeringly sincere voice, tinged with a gentle huskiness that is complimented so well by his expert choice in music.  This isn’t just an album that can make you dance, but music that can put a smile on your face for days to come.

For more information on Salif Keita or to hear a sample from Talé, check out his website here:

Review by Joe Knipe


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