4 stars

Sent to Mali by Unesco to mentor studio engineers, the German-born guitarist Leni Stern fell in love with the sound of the ngoni, the rudimentary African lute. For this album she teams up with Harua Samake and Mamadou Kone on a set of sparse, partly-improvised songs. Amy Sacko, Bassekou Kouyaté’s wife and singer, adds vocals to ‘Papillon’. Stern revels in Malian tradition without being absorbed in it.

Leni Stern


(Leni Stern Recordings)

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