Baaba_maal-royal_festival_hall_span3
July/August 1999

Baaba Maal
Royal Festival Hall
Palmetto Records

The tunes are extended and sometimes rough around the edges, but that's the live buzz for you, sweat, instincts, audience feedback and all, and it's what gives energy to the new one from Baaba Maal, Live at the Royal Festival Hall (Palmetto 2014; 41:26). The four tracks, found on his earlier albums Nomad Soul and Firin in Fouta, feature the Senegalese singer at his limber best. It has the air of an event, and the acoustics of a live encounter. Ernest Ranglin makes a guest appearance on "Koni," and the band stretches out in a way that accents the western linkages between Maal and the world of soul music and country blues.

Originally published in July/August 1999
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