Faya... Kora blimey!
Review: Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate – Faya
Published on November 27th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
New York one-man-band Joe Driscoll and Guinean musician Sekou Kouyate were introduced to each other at French festival Nuits Metis (“nights of mixed race” en anglais), and while neither can speak the other’s language their musical understanding has spawned this frequently compelling album of hip-hop/’Afrobeat’ jams.
The mad flourishes of electric guitar on “Tanama” are unlike anything Rocksucker has heard before, percussion competing furiously all the while, and the concrete slabs of bass on “Passport” both complement Kouyate’s pleasing Sousou vocals and bring to mind the Damon Albarn/Flea/Tony Allen collaboration album Rocket Juice & the Moon of earlier this year.
Guitar dazzles in a classical capacity on the title track, while “Ghetto Many” vies for standout status by dint of Kouyate’s glowing twinkles of kora (a 21-string African harp, his mastery of which has earned Kouyate the nickname “The Jimi Hendrix of Africa”) and Driscoll’s rhyming of ‘vampire’ with ‘campfire’ in his rap (apparently Cee Lo Green has christened him “the gangsta with the iron lung”, which we imagine might refer to his beatboxing prowess).
The jamming can occasionally spill over into autopilot, but on the whole Faya is a worthwhile document of two great talents converging.
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!
Faya is out now on Localization Records.