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Stronghold Sounds | Sembeh Ma Fa Fe The Roots Volume

album review by John Powell

Sembeh Ma Fa Fe The Roots Volume

Stronghold Sounds has dropped volume II of Sembeh Ma Fa Fe, a collaboration and concoction of singers and players native to Guinea Conakry. While Volume I offered a progressive, modernized sound, Volume II harkens back to more traditional sounds.

“Mikhiya”, starting off the record, balanced on mbira and stoic rhythm, loose and playful, which gestures to the audience that we’re embarking on an organic feeling trip through West Africa. Blondi, who sings the song, returns throughout the album, later on the similarly driven “Marafanyi”.

A highlight is MyBaby’s “Matoto”, a carousing, simple tune. MyBaby offers some of the best tracks. With “Sida” she picks up the pace and delivers a positive-feeling romp.

The album offers several remixes, all of which are interesting, as they take the organic originals and replenishes them with excited production. “Sida”’s remix is casual, yet more user friendly to the listener less inclined to seek out the old school vibe.

Subtitled “The Roots Volume”, it’s interesting to place next to the first installment and ponder the evolution of music, even within a small part of the globe. Still, for fans of West African music, and those seeking to listen to something powerful but light on the subwoofer, this album offers pleasant-to-the-ear songs.

Bottom line: A fine collection of roots-related Guinea Conarky musics.

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