Kadialy Kouyate – Nemo

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

Taking inspiration from the rich Griot traditions of West Africa, the Senegalese singer, songwriter and musician Kadialy Kouyate puts a contemporary spin on seven original songs, each accompanied by his expressive mastery of the Kora.  Nemo, or ‘blessings’, accurately describes these engaging meditations, from the affectionate family oriented “Ye Nale”, the compassion of “Juguya” and the freedom of “Kuno”, each song performed with sensitivity and craft.

Kouyate’s singing has a certain warmth throughout, a voice that captures the humility in each of these blessings, whether they’re focused on socialising, youth, hard work or indeed friendship, as indicated in the final piece in the set, “Mamadou”, dedicated to Kadialy’s friend and percussionist Mamadou Sarr, who also appears elsewhere on the album, notably on the hypnotic “Agna Bara”.  Nemo is a relatively short album, coming in at just over thirty minutes, yet there’s a feeling of fulfilment once the applause fades on this final track, which was presumably recorded live.  

Choice Track: Agna Bara (NSV 500)