When plans go sour, it’s not always a disaster. AfroCubism, a reimagining of the record that was made in Havana’s Buena Vista Social club is 14 years later. The Malians failed to arrive so the project became almost entirely Cuban and gave rise to the famous mega-hit. Unfortunately, many of the people involved are no longer with us. AfroCubism, however, brings together the core members of the original group and several Mali-based luminaries. AfroCubism’s predominant atmosphere is West African, even though the content is equally split between the two cultures. The arrangements and sound often recall the beautiful instrumental album Ballad of Manding (2007), which was recorded by the mysterious guitarist and ngoni player Zoumana diarra. Eliades Ochoa (guitarist and singer) is the most well-known member of AfroCubism. He also featured on Buena Vista Social Club’s Chan Chan version. He opens the song with a beautiful, relaxed rendition of Al Vaiven De Mi Carreta. This song was recorded by him and Nico Saquito, a Cuban troubadour. Kasse-Mady Diabate, another main singer, takes the lead in the second part. He gently adjusts his normally stern, gritty tone to fit the mood. Toumani Diabate, Kora master Toumani, is surprisingly discrete throughout the performance. He only takes a few minutes to perform his fine composition Mali Cuba and Bensema. Fans of Super Rail Band will recognize DjelimadyTounkara’s fluid, slightly psychedelic electric guitarist on Djelimady Rumba. Lassana Diabate’s balafon (woodenxylophone), is able to make stunning runs in many of the pieces. Bassekou Kouyate is another star, a ngoni specialist who switches to an amplified bass version on the atmospheric and spooky Dakan. The arrangements are completed by backing vocalists and a rhythm section, which includes horns. From

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