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Robin Denselow

Kassé Mady Diabaté: Kiriké review Malian master goes back to his musical roots

(No Format!)Kassé Mady Diabaté is one of the finest singers in Africa. Hes a griot, a guardian of Malis ancient culture, but in the west he is best known for his fusion projects. He sang on Taj Mahal and Toumani Diabatés Kulanjan, an album praised by P

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn review banjo music for those who hate the banjo

(Rounder)Béla Fleck is surely the finest banjo player on the planet, a virtuoso who can switch from bluegrass to classical, jazz and African styles, while his wife, Abigail Washburn, is also an impressive banjo performer, influenced by China as well as A

Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker: Nothing Can Bring Back the Hour review elegant, melancholy folk

(Folkroom)Sometimes my view is always imbued with melancholy hue, sings Josienne Clarke in the opening song here, Silverline. Thats something of an understatement, for this is an elegant concept album that explores different shades of misery. The folk sc

Tony Allen: Film of Life CD review cool, contemporary sounds from the master drummer

(Jazz Village/Harmonia Mundi)When you are rightly praised as the greatest drummer Africa has produced, and helped to create Afrobeat along with Fela Kuti, then theres no need for indulgent solos. At 74, Tony Allen has released his 10th album, a cool, cont

Yasmin Levy: Tango review Israeli singer takes on classic tangos to triumphant effect

Yasmin Levy has always specialised in drama and passion, at times annoyingly so, but now the Israeli singer has found the style that perfectly fits her powerful, theatrical performances and regal stage persona.

Vashti Bunyan: Heartleap review breathy and frighteningly fragile

(Fatcat)Vashti Bunyan has had a curious career. In 1970 she released Just Another Diamond Day, a gently charming, if sometimes twee album that failed to sell. When it was re-released 30 years later, helped by reminders of how she had travelled across Bri

Various Artists: Real World 25 review a fitting tribute to a game-changing label

Happy birthday to Real World, launched 25 years ago by Peter Gabriel, and one of the most adventurous of the great British record labels..

Sam Amidon: Lily-O review subtle and intriguing

(Nonesuch)Sam Amidons new set of reimagined folk songs is a compellingly quiet, intense affair that is remarkable both for the power of his understated, no-nonsense and often mournful vocals, and for the subtle arrangements that bring an urgency to his

Fofoulah: Fofoulah review a bravely adventurous new fusion band

(Glitterbeat)Dave Smith is a remarkable young drummer, as those who have heard him playing with JuJu, or with Robert Plants Sensational Space Shifters will know. With his band Outhouse Ruhabi he mixed improvisation with the Sabar drumming styles of Gambi

The Men They Couldnt Hang: The Defiant review impressively energetic

(Vinyl Star/Cargo)Folk punk lives. Its been 30 years since The Men They Couldnt Hang became John Peel favourites with their debut single Green Fields of France, and they are still in impressively energetic, rousing and angry form on a new album that was f