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The Source


Artist: Afro Celt Sound System
Label: ECC Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 29 April 2016

Afro Celt Sound System have an accomplished catalogue of albums, dating back to their 1996 debut, Volume 1: Sound Magic and continue their adventures on ECC Records, with the band’s first studio recording for a decade: The Source...

Afro Celt Sound System's The Source summon the original Afro Celt energy, while simultaneously yielding fresh and creative inspiration. Its track-listing brings together core members Simon Emmerson, Guinean vocalist, kora and balafon virtuoso N’Faly Kouyate and charismatic dhol master Johnny Kalsi, along with long-standing collaborators such as Davy Spillane and Emer Mayock on uillean pipes and whistles, Moussa Sissoko on djembe and talking drum, and members of Scottish folk fusion Shooglenifty (who contributed to the very first Afro Celt album).

The Source is a highly ambitious project that has a broad remit and accomplishes so much, musically. So why did I find it so hard to listen to and enjoy? It could be that it's too diverse and doesn't seem to flow well from track to track. On the whole, though, the musical output on here is well worth your time. There are, for me, low points. 'Child of Wonder' contains poetry - and I hate poetry. To my ear the majority of poetry is just lazy, bad writing.

But the low points are balanced by the high points 'Desert Billy (tune 'The Balcony')' is an upbeat, interesting track that is hard not to tap your toe to. 'The Soul of a Sister' is another wonderful, standout track.

The album contains 13 tracks (1 hr, 17 min, 39 sec) and while this won't be to everyone's taste, fans of World music should find enough here to make it worth their while.


Nick Smithson

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