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Ocean Blues - Djeli Moussa Diawara and Bob Brozman
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October 27, 2000

African Steel


American guitarist Bob Brozman, whose mastery of Hawaiian slide guitar is second to none, loves musical adventure. His prior album, Jin-Jin/Firefly, was a collaboration with Okinawa's Takashi Hirayasu. Now, in the company of Guinean 31-stringed kora player Djeli Moussa Diawara, he turns his gaze on West Africa. A superb pairing it is, too. Brozman adds slinky slide guitar to Diawara's muscular, rippling kora lines.

The pair explore North African territory on "Voyage dans le Desert" and really let it rip on "Nkaminyo Yelena Ma." "Hip Hop," which seemingly has nothing to do with the musical genre, is still a delight, as the players bounce off each other, exchange ideas and continually push into riskier musical territory. The two also connect the dots between West African music and American blues on the playful "Maloyan Devil," which takes a lighthearted look at the sort of African blues explored by Taj Mahal and Toumani Diabate on Kulanjan. The clear sense of fun that comes through the speakers reaffirms the idea of music as a single universal language.

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