THE FULA FLUTE CD
Reviews



SKILLFUL PERFORMANCE ON GUINEA'S HAUNTING TAMBIRU FLUTE

The Fula flute (tambiru) from the Guinean highlands is one of West Africa's most haunting, though less familiar, instruments. Its melancholic melodies are known to move listeners to tears and call travellers back to their families. Canadian artist Sylvain Leroux followed the voice of the flute on a journey to its place of origin - a trip that inspired him to set out on a mission of publicizing the instrument to a wider audience.

His Fula Flute showcases the tambiru in the skilful hands of his teacher Bailo Bah. It features a selection of loosely arranged flute duets, occasionally underpinned by the rolling patterns of kora (harp-lute) and balafon (xylophone) and the grumble of a double-bass. The album's strength - the soulful sound of the tambiru - is at the same time its weakness, as an hour of full-on flute focus feels a bit like too much of a good thing. And it's a slight regret that the album features exclusively songs from the Mande tradition, rather than promoting the instrument with its own prolific repertoire. Still, overall this is a smooth, gently engaging disc that will find a suitable place in your CD changer next to Toumani Diabaté's kora records and El Hadj Sory Kouyaté's balafon anthologies.

Yelina Tambin, Songlines, December 2002

 

 

 
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