African Son

Salif Keita blends the sounds of his homeland's past, present, and future

Where several of Salif Keita's former musical endeavors have been hamstrung by unneeded guests (like Weather Report alumni) or deadened by pop-oriented dross, the Malian dynamo's new album, Moffou, is his most successful yet. Returning to his traditional griot upbringing with swirls of Portuguese and Moorish influences as well as lyrics sung in French (Keita makes his home in a Paris suburb), Moffou represents the pinnacle of modern, techno-savvy African music. Although Keita was born into royalty (as the direct descendant of the 13th-century emperor who was Mali's first ruler), his albinism meant, like Jamaica's Yellowman, that he was shunned by his peers and was forced to hide from the withering West African sun. Now, following a string of ten often-uneven albums, Keita has finally hit his stride with Moffou. He commands a large, vibrant band, more refined and tradition-bound than the stomping hedonism of Fela's Afrofunk, but Keita is a charismatic performer in his own right, his bold, attractive voice always at the center of the storm. The show is in celebration of the opening of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center on Fort Lauderdale's Sistrunk Corridor.

 
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