Mamani Keita
& Marc Minelli,
Electro Bamako
(Universal Classics, 2001)

Electro Bamako features a West African female singer who sings in time with a fast-paced snare and a Parisian male who sings around the slower pulse of a bass drum. He brings electronics to her African traditional music.

It is really a shame that Mamani Keita does not have a better voice. It's nasal. To make matters worse, it's high-pitched, too. I found it almost painful to sit through this CD. I respect her for carrying her traditions and culture forward to the next generation -- but there must be another way to preserve her heritage. Her voice is heinous!

This is really sad because the music and background vocals are great. The music in "Laydou" is wonderful. I loved it -- especially the electronics. If this woman had not been singing, it would have been an outstanding number. As it is, it just plain hurts the ears. Again, in "Demisenoun," the music and background vocals are fantastic, but the singing makes me want to cry.

The musicians featured on this CD are Mamani Keita (vocals), Dielly Moussa (guitar), Patrick Castille (guitar), Moriba Koita (nigoni), Lassina Kouyate (balafon), Laure Kling (cello), Stan Steiner (violin), Pascal Simoni (piano), Elie Chemali (piano, keyboards), Daniel Paboeuf (saxophone, clarinet), Ludivic Louis (trumpet), Olsa (background vocals) and Laurent Jais (bass, treatment). Marc Minelli, despite sharing top billing on the CD, is credited only for electronics and for writing some of the music.

If this band would take Olsa off background vocals and let her sing the lead, they would be killer. But, as they stand, I would recommend you add a set of earplugs to your purchase.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 1 May 2004

Buy it from