Leave it to labels like Peter Gabriel’s Real World or Six Degrees to unearth the finest music beyond our shores. Tama is the brainchild of post-punk vet Sam Mills, Tom Diakite, and Djanuno Dabo, along with new member, Malian diva Mamani Keita. Although the styles encompassing Espace could trace their origins around the globe, it is the African foundation which lies at its core, namely Afropop. Yes, the U.S definition of pop is MUCH different than Africa’s, as you can see the latter clearly focuses on musicianship rather than image and album sales.
Organ-aided tracks like the seductive opener “Oka” and the singalong chant “Yalala” showcase the entrancing, flamenco-like guitar lines and subtle percussive elements that each lend their own breadth to the song’s structure. The vocals are essential elements as well, providing an air of uplifting spirituality to the pulsating rhythms. As mellow an album as Espace is, it is no less intense in its nature of song, disquieting at moments and whispering poignantly at other times. It’s always refreshing to know that music progresses and thrives beyond our media-saturated, MTV-addled land, so open your mind a bit further and immerse yourself in these enjoyable alternatives to the norm.
Real World Records: http://www.realworldrecords.com