Where my affection for African music stems from I'll probably never know. it seems most likely that I find the quintessential style of the continent familiar, but upon contemplation it's worth noting that any memories of it which I do harbor, consist of absolutely nothing life affirming or substantial. In truth, the soundtrack to Disney's 'Lion King' has probably been the single greatest bridge connecting me with the music of humanity's birthplace, but there definitely is something which makes me engage with it.
Whatever this previously alluded to 'something' is, I have found it encapsulated in the new CD from that 21st century 'Jimi Hendrix' of acoustic guitar: 'Antonio Forcione'. With his first studio album in five years, the London-based guitarist's latest excursion focuses largely on music of origin, with every element on the album drawing towards a laid back, authentic, and most of all respectful body of work. Throughout, African instruments such as the Kora feature alongside Western standards and create an effortless amalgamation of styles which ultimately contribute to the abundance of personality on this wonderful record. The harmonies are rich, the melodies are unfaltering and the percussion section remains subtle and welcoming throughout. This is one record which really does outstretch an invitational hand to you and gleefully beckons you to come and dance.
I've listened to this album every day after work and I can safely say that getting in and washing up has never seemed so vibrant or enjoyable. If I really must compare it to a metaphorical Western entity in an attempt to relay the special nature of the album, my offering would be this:
Penguin Cafe Orchestra meets Bassekou Kouyate for an unrivaled session of musical exchanges and melodic meanderings - There's your poster quote mate!
Coming to a grateful set of ears on the side of your head in September 2012