El Hadj N'Diaye: Geej (Marabi)

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El Hadj N'Diaye: Cheick Anta Diop
El Hadj N'Diaye: Geej (Marabi)

This Senegalese singer-guitarist (here recorded in Paris) has one of those mesmerisingly soulful voices which, even though you probably don't understand a word, pulls you in.

His lyrics address social issues (if translating avec mon rudimentary Francaise est bien) -- but you get that from the emotion he pours into the words.

French producers often like to polish up musicians from the region and here you get fretless bass, electric guitar, sax and cello -- but these are all kept well in check and remain mercifully in service of the song.

There is also kora and N'Diaye's acoustic guitar to keep matters very grounded, and everywhere the song emerging from the vocals remains the focus. That aching voice, the repeated rhythmic phrases, the discreet touches of instrumental embellishment . . . .

it's a persuasive mix and the effect (as on the solo title track) can be quite moving.

Not a name that trips lightly off the tongue, but the music certainly comes easily and repeatedly from the stereo.

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