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Dawda Jobarteh - I Met Her by the River (Sterns Music)
There's always something immediately warm and soothing about the kora, and Dawda Jobarteh's new release is indeed no exception. The instrument is enough in itself, especially in the hands of such a remarkable musician, yet when placed amongst other instruments it truly comes alive. I doubt there's anything quite as cool as a guy meeting his girl down by the river, carrying his kora (without its case) as seen on the cover, a still from the promotional film that accompanies the title track.
I probably wouldn't have guessed that the final track was a re-working of Adele's Hello until at least the chorus, had I not caught a glimpse of the track listing first. The piece settles in alongside the other compositions on the album, notably the spaced-out version of Mongo Santamaria's bluesy 1958 classic Afro Blue, which is treated here to something along the lines of what Hendrix was remembered for during the final moments of the Woodstock Festival. Another notable example of the rich Gambian kora/griot musical heritage and a fine addition to any serious record collection.