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CD REVIEW

Benyoro: Benyoro

by Stratton Lawrence on August 04, 2014

At first glance, New York sextet Benyoro’s adaptations of West African melodies and rhythms call to mind Tinariwen or Toubab Krewe (their closest stateside peers, with whom they share djembe player Luke Quaranta). But two minutes into “An Sera,” the opening track of their 10- song debut, the overwhelmingly uplifting crescendo of kora, bass, guitar and three percussionists reveals a fresh, visionary evolution in the hybridization of rock-influenced Saharan music. Led by guitarist Sam Dickey (an American bred in Burkina Faso) and Malian native and kora virtuoso Yacouba Sissoko, the album ebbs between unplugged, traditional arrangements (“Kulanjan”) and innovative compositions like the eight-minute dance-floor mover, “Famadenke.” Throughout, it’s spirit-lifting morning music, yet equally transports listeners to the magic of the desert after dark.

Authors: Stratton Lawrence
Artist: Benyoro
Album: Benyoro
Label: Self-Released

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