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Mamadou Kelly | Adibar (Clermont Music)

Oct. 2, 2013
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Malian singer-guitarist Mamadou Kelly was chased out of his hometown in 2012 by Islamic fundamentalists who hate music—not just Kelly’s but all music. As the militants burned instruments and chopped off hands, Kelly and his band regrouped to await a precarious victory by French troops over the fundamentalists. None of this is audible on Adibar, an album recorded in Mali as repeated power failures interrupted the sessions. The music is gentle and the melodies lilting, performed in large part on traditional West African string instruments. Perhaps the quiet in Kelly’s voice is the one audible witness to the horrors he escaped.

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