MANSA AMERICA
Reviews

Jazz Beyond Jazz / Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation

HOPE WE STILL HOPE WE CAN BELIEVE IN
posted January 6, 2009

We -- I -- need a deep-winter burst of positivity. The Presidential election was twomonths ago, and nothing has changed! Except the pres-elect is getting heat for allhe hasn't done (bring peace to Israel-Gaza, fix the economy, justify appointments)while the sitting lame duck gets a virtual pass for what he's ignoring (Israel-Gaza),what he's flubbed (US economy, world affairs, environment -- need more examples?) and what he's doing now (opening wilderness to development, putting appointeesin protected jobs, spinning his legacy).So here's an Obama praise song by Fula Flute, an internationally-constituted bandfeaturing a felicitous West African sound: two unusual flutes in not-quite-unison,kora and balafon, upright bass, congas. Vocalist Adoulaye Diabate sings, "If you'relooking for a great leader, you have to find a good person . . . Good evening,Barack Obama." Fula Flute dedicates its new, second album Mansa America to Big O, with the note "May he help lead the World into a new enlightened era." Amen tothat.

— Howard Mandel, President, Jazz Journalists Association

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