Baaba’s new album is a blend of African roots and more contemporary electronic influences all beautifully woven together at varying tempos, and carrying different messages for the listener.
‘The Traveller’ opens with the raucous Fulani Rock, underpinned by dark throbbing drums, intricate guitars and Baaba Maal’s distinctive vocal soaring overhead, carrying messages for his people: ‘Language is a weapon. I’m not using it to destroy but to build bridges and bring people together. I am a messenger of the people so everyone’s voice can be heard.
Other standout tracks are the beautiful ‘One Day’ and ‘Gilli Men’, both resplendent with glistening guitars, velvet-sounding tom-toms, soft strings and Baaba Maal’s voice gently echoing against a backdrop of rapturous, layered backing vocals, which tell us to both ‘Pursue your own excellence,’ and ‘Feed your soul’. Unsurprisingly, for an artist who uses music as a medium to spread important messages to his people and beyond, the album closes with two songs ‘War’ and ‘Peace.’ Both feature powerful spoken word poetry by Lemn Sissay, official poet of the 2012 Olympics and recently appointed Chancellor of The University of Manchester.
1. Fulani Rock
2. Gilli Men
3. One Day
7. Jam Jam
Maal’s voice continue to hypnotise.
This will knock you halfway around the world.
A welcome return to form. 8/10
Maal’s journey’s back on track.
A triumphant comeback.****