BKO – Djine Bora

Without a doubt, one of the most exciting records of the year is certainly BKO’s electrifying Djine Bora.

BKO, a popular Malian quintet, blend together facets of western rock music with traditional Mandinka modes and rhythms. Many of the group’s songs are based around the twisting double helix interplay of a of fuzzed-up Djeli N’goni, a sort of West African guitar constructed of wood or calabash and animal skin, and a Donso N’goni, a six-stringed lute-like instrument.

The album alternates between fierce rave-ups and hazily mellow grooves that sometimes edge very close to reggae territory (especially on the relaxed “Maya”). At times, the music here resembles some of the exhilarating Tuareg jams you’d come to expect from groups like Mdou Moctar, like with the frenetic “Sadiona.” Then others lean further into the group’s Western influences, which is very evident with the wah-wah heavy “Bamako.”

Regardless of what musical flavors BKO dips into, they always put a ton of emphasis on soul and atmosphere. Between the record’s hypnotic rhythms and smooth backing vocals and the soaring impassioned voice of lead singer Fassara Sacko, it’s easy to understand how this album is focused on bringing hope and escapism to the Malian people who’ve been caught in both an ecological and political crises. This is music to enrich the spirit and to find catharsis through. Dance until your heart is no longer hurting.

This is a brilliantly fun and soul stirring recording, and it deserves to be played LOUD.  Click here to get your copy on vinyl, CD or digital today.

-KH


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Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and Thewaster.com and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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