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Acoustic Africa CD

A captivating collection featuring many of Africa's best singer-songwriters performing beautiful songs with an acoustic flavor



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Putumayo Presents : Acoustic Africa


Every so often, an album comes along that reminds us why we are so moved by song: the melody, the rhythm, and the message. Putumayo has presented a variety of world music CDs, but African music has been the consistent heart and soul of its offerings.


Putumayo World Music is pleased to present Acoustic Africa,a captivating collection showcasing some of Africa’s greatest singer-songwriters in beautifully stripped down displays of acoustic mastery. These artists are helping to spearhead an acoustic revolution in stark contrast to the studio-based, synthesized dance music that became the standard for African pop-stars of the 1980’s and 90’s. On Acoustic Africa, you’ll discover gentle folk songs from Senegal, a protest song from South Africa, blues-tinged ballads from Mali and much more.


Opening the album is Senegalese troubadour Diogal Sakho,whose contribution “Sore” (The Immigrant) displays what Sakho is most noted for: songs of nostalgia and ancestral values with memorable melodies and melancholy guitar. Fellow Senegal native Laye Sow also sings of his homeland and its current struggle with its neighboring country on “Mauritania.”  Laye’s deep spirituality is represented in his songs, as is his commitment to speaking out against injustice and inequality in African society.


Not all the songs on Acoustic Africa echo with sorrow,however.The beloved and popularAngelique Kidjo,best known for her upbeat dance music appears here with "Sedjedo," a previously unreleased song. And on "Mindjer Dôce Mel" (Woman Sweet Honey),Eneida Marta encourages strength and tolerance with lyrics supporting women's equality,while rhythmic accents of calabash water drum,Western harp and kora give the song a soothing fluidity.


Acoustic Africa also provides an opportunity to draw attention to some of Africa’s challenging social issues, as well as its diverse music. The performers on this album are social activists, building awareness of the current conditions in Africa that affect the region and the world. They sing of love and faith, pain and oppression, and their ability to unite people.


Vusi Mahlasela is an active social commentator who often addresses issues of social and political significance in his homeland.Mahlasela’s lyrical message of peace was a beacon of change during South Africa’s formation of a new government. His gripping lyrics and lovely melodies on “Basimanyana” demonstrate why Mahlasela is also a leading figure in the contemporary South African music scene. Among his most ardent supporters is Dave Matthews, who invited him to contribute guest vocals on the title track of the Dave Matthews Band’s multi-platinum album, “Everyday,” and then signed Mahlasela to his label, ATO Records.


One of Africa’s most world-renowned performers,Habib Koité has toured the globe and shared the stage with some of the world’s best-known artists. On the Acoustic Africa track “Baro,” Koité’s wistful vocals with swirling rhythms and intertwined harmonies demonstrate his distinctive sound. Koité has earned his fame through unique guitar styling and inspiring performances, as can be witnessed on the music video of  “Wari” a bonus enhancement on the Acoustic Africa CD, as well as one of Koité’s best-loved songs.


A portion of Putumayo’s proceeds from the sale of this CD will be donated to Mercy Corps in support of their efforts to help AIDS victims and the victims of the civil war in Darfur, and to Oxfam America and Oxfam Novib’s “Make Trade Fair” campaign to improve trade conditions for African countries.


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