Boomkat Product Review:
Malian artist Kokanko Sata recorded these songs over a period of six days, with no overdubs or additional tracking. The singer surrounded herself with a varying number of additional musicians (ranging from no accompaniment at all to a full octet) playing balafon, guitar, flute and percussion. For the album, Sata selected a blend of traditional and new compositions, drawing on the folk song repertoire sung by young hunters in the region of Wassoulou, just south of the nation's capital, Bamako. "Sata's singing is a rush of deep, throaty, declamatory tones reminiscent of the early American bluesmen; and she plays the three-stringed hunters' harp - the kamelen n'goni - usually reserved for the men of the village. This instrument has gradually been incorporated into popular music, and one or two pioneering women broke the rules and learned to play it before Sata - though none emerged beyond family performances. It is a notoriously difficult instrument to play, and her skill has brought her the nickname 'the hunters' heroine'. There are songs praising particular hunters, and Allah; also reflections on personal experiences of relationships between the sexes, featuring those universal figures the love-rat, the hypocrite, the commitment-phobe. Sata sings of the sadness of parting and of saying goodbye (as resonant for lovers everywhere as for Malians abroad or uprooted at home). And she closes with a light, bright track for dancing - Kono Kuru (Birds That Flock Together) - an uplifting call for tolerance and understanding."