Celebrated Malian songwriter and guitarist Afel Bocoum will release his new studio album ‘Lindé’ through World Circuit Records on 4th September. The first single taken from the record, titled ‘Avion’, is a playful and optimistic tribute to air travel. The song really does ‘take off’, soaring skywards on a beat that’s close to Congolese soukous, with the guitars of Mamadou Kelly, Oumar Konaté and Lamine Soumano providing sweet and melodic propulsion. Damon Albarn, who acts as executive producer on the record alongside World Circuit’s Nick Gold, shared his thoughts: “Afel’s voice is one of the treasures of Mali, and this record is a gift to us all.” Named after the wild expanse near Bocoum’s hometown of Niafunké, ‘Lindé’ is a remarkable blend of deep tradition and audacious innovation. The album was recorded in Mali’s capital Bamako, and stitches together the age-old music of the Niger bend with styles from across the globe, boasting performances from a number of eminent Malian musicians including Madou Kouyaté, the late ‘Hama’ Sankaré and Madou Sidiki Diabaté, along with the drums of recently-departed Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen, the trombone of Vin Gordon (Bob Marley / Skatalites) and the violin of Joan as Police Woman. Traditional instruments like the ngoni, njurkele, kora and calabash blend with guitars, percussion and call-and-response vocals. The result is a gently undulating flow that emanates from a source hidden deep in the historical and mystical traditions of Bocoum’s native land, enriched along its way by musical tributaries and cross-currents. It’s music that rolls rather than rocks, graceful, unforced and minimal by design. ‘Lindé’ is also an album with a message – in the face of an uncertain and turbulent world, and a homeland struggling with jihad, poverty and tribal war, Afel Bocoum urges hope, solidarity and unity. “We have to meet each other, talk to each other, look each other in the eye and tell the truth,” Afel says. “If we’re not united, I can see no solution. Our social security is music. That’s all we’ve got left. People love music, so we have to make use of that fact.”

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