"On Beautiful Africa, Malian songwriter and guitar slinger Rokia Traoré unleashes the fiery rocker she's been nurturing since her teens. On four previous offerings she established herself as a wildly inventive and diverse songwriter, most notably on 2008's Tchamantché…" ~AMG, 4/5
Wanita is a mild quantum leap from Traore's debut, Mouneissa. The style she cultivated on her debut – a glorious mix of the singer/songwriter with the rootsy, acoustic instruments of her native Mali – is refined here, and she approaches everything with more confidence. She's very much a rarity in African terms, a female singer/songwriter, and one whose lyrics are very progressive, dealing with the rights of women in a patriarchal society. But she's representative of a new generation that has brought forth a lot of professional women, for whom she's become a figurehead.
Mali's Makan Badje Tounkara is a gifted composer, arranger, singer, and n'goni soloist. Makan is joined by bass n'goni, djembe drum, tama drum, fle gourd, krin scraper, and several vocalists. Nana Coulibaly, Gedon Diara, Adama Diabate, Fatoumata Kouyate, Modi Tounkara, Yakouba Sissoko, Djifili, Modibo Diabate, and Mamadou Tounkara round out the personnel. The lilting strings and plucked lutes combine with light percussion and energetic vocals to produce a very organic result.
The most straightforward signed coin transposition between you and two spectators. The most powerful and memorable magic is the one that happens in the hands of the audience. A half dollar is examined or borrowed and initialed on each side by two spectators. One spectator holds a purse from the start, the other is given the signed coin and closes the hand. He sees the signed coin in his hand before closing it. At that moment, the magic begins: The magician makes a quarter dollar transpose with the signed coin… now the spectator opens the hand, he has the quarter, and you have the signed coin. But that's NOT ALL! Now you point to the second spectator holding the purse, and making a gesture, the signed coin vanishes from you hand only to reappear inside the purse or wallet. The spectator HIMSELF removes the coin and checks the "Signatures"!
With his explosive soloing and inventive five conga patterns, Cuban musician Miguel "Angá" Díaz was one of the world's great congueros. Echu Mingua, his debut album as a bandleader, is an innovative set. Angá saw this project as representing his journey in music—from learning at the feet of traditional rumba masters in his rural village, to joining the foremost experimental band in Cuba Irakere, his sojourns with innovative US jazz musicians Steve Coleman and Roy Hargrove, then back to his roots with the Afro-Cuban All Stars, Rubén González, and opening doors with the great Cuban bassist Cachaíto López.