Friday 8 December 2023

Bone Idol

Peter Bonavota aka Pete Bones has been shakin' it for the past three decades but it's only in the last three years that I've really become aware of his music and remixes as Pete Bones or The Shaker. Another one of those 'better late than never' discoveries.

Expelled from school at age 15, Pete's subsequent CV has mapped out an interesting and varied vocation: DJ, label boss, KISS100fm resident and with hundreds of releases and remixes under his belt (which Discogs only scratches the surface with).

Pete's music has been been a regular on my monthly shopping list of late and this month was no exception. Splintered Bones Vol 1, a collection of Pete's "own edits of some of [his] fav classic tracks" that he's been playing out over the summer, was released on 1st December and it's a cracker.
Delve a little deeper and you'll find that many of Pete's previous releases feature remixes or re-edits of Talking Heads tunes and if that isn't incentive enough, then his own music across several albums is top notch too. But don't take my word for it, check it out yourself.
To set the weekend up nicely, here's a 10-track Dubhed selection that spans the last few years and gives a broad sense of where Pete's at right now. My clubbing days may be some way behind me and I have to agree that "Silent Disco Sucks" but this is a whole new definition of "House Music"...
1) Disko Drohne (Pete Bones Remix): Matt Gunn (2022)
2) Wild Moose Chase (Bedford Falls Players Remix): Pete Bones (2021)
3) Silent Disco Sucks (Al Mackenzie Remix): Pete Bones & The Stones Of Convention (2022)
4) Happy House (Pete Bones Rework): The Juan Maclean (2023)
5) Shoestring Budget (Super FU Remix): Pete Bones (2021)
6) The Mayor Of Malt Rave St (Tici Taci Remix By Duncan Gray): Pete Bones (2021)
7) Undertow (Pete Bones Remix): Warpaint (2019)
8) Gravitational Arch Of 10 (Pete Bones Rework): Vapour Space (2023)
9) Lady On A Grey Day (Justin Robertson Remix): Pete Bones & The Stones Of Convention (2022)
10) Skin Tight (Pete Bones Remix): D:Ream (2023)
2019: Crow's Nest: 7 
2021: Wild Moose Chase Remixed: 2, 5, 6
2022: Disko Drohne Remix: 1 
2022: Hyena Hopscotch Remixes: 3, 9
2023: Broken Hearts & Messed Up Minds: The Remix Album: 10
2023: Splintered Bones Vol 1: 4, 8

Bone Idol (1:09:16) (KF) (Mega)

Thursday 7 December 2023

Three x3 x3 x3

Somehow, I'm not quite sure how, Dubhed is three years old today. Not something I imagined writing when I first started this blog in 2020. 
A piffling amount of time if you visit any of the blogs linked to this site and see what dedication and long-term commitment really looks like, but it's without a doubt the most sustained period of activity for any 'creative venture' that I've ever been wholly responsible for. 

Will it change your life? No, of course not. But it has helped mine in some subtle and more obvious ways. Especially since moving to the discipline of a daily post, it's given me a structured mindfulness activity that's been more of a help with my mental health that I can fully appreciate, both as a preventative and a curative exercise.

The best bit though, and the inspiration for doing it in the first place, is the lovely blogging community that I discovered and have since felt a part of, a reminder when you are surrounded by news and stories to the contrary that there are many, many wonderful human beings out there. And we all share a passion for music. Not necessarily the same music all of the time, but an appreciation and respect for the sheer love of it regardless.

It's not just about the music, though, this sense of community. Whenever I can, I try to make some time on a Saturday morning to drop by at My Top Ten to join in with Rol's excellent - and teasingly, pleasingly difficult - Saturday Snapshots quiz. Every month in 2023, John's Are We There Yet? blog has hosted a gallery of themed photos, which I started contributing to (albeit generally always just under the deadline wire - sorry, John!) and enjoy a lot. SWC at No Badger Required has run regular countdowns, based on votes from a musical jury and I'm privileged to have been a member on quite a few of these. And it all started for me with guest contributions to The Vinyl Villain, specifically JC's epic and ongoing An Imaginary Compilation album series, which has pretty much been the template for the Dubhed selections that have regularly featured here. 
That's just scratching the surface: there are so many fantastic music blogs out there, all saying something different, all opening up my mind (and ears) to new experiences and not just music, of course. Every single one of the blogs in the "Other Head Music" roll call on your right (in web view, that is) are a continual inspiration.
I recently commented that Swiss Adam's Bagging Area "has always been more than a blog for music lovers, it’s a lesson in humanity." It's a humbling experience reading other people's raw and vulnerable thoughts and expressions - painful and inspiring often at the same time - and it's wonderful to see how people rally round, offer support and encouragement and just care.

Thank you all, you know who you are. Whether you have visited once or lots of times, left plenty of comments or none at all, have downloaded a Dubhed selection or had a glance through and moved on, thank you.
Anyhoo, before you start to wonder if you've stumbled on a Grammy award acceptance speech by accident, let's have some music.

If I've got my numbers right, today is my 970th post and my 654th Dubhed selection (if you count individual sides of a mixtape, which I am). No wonder my back up drive is looking full...!

I thought I'd struggle to find enough songs in my collection with 'three' in the title. No such trouble, as it happens, to the extent that I've left out some really obvious ones (apologies, De La Soul) and mix it up a little.

So, the name of this mix. Three multiplied by three three times is 81 so this selection is of course 81 minutes long (or as near as dammit). Each song contains 3 or three in the title. There are 20 tracks in total, which as you'll know is...not divisible by three. Well, you can overwork a theme sometimes, can't you?
Today's cover art is photo of Lagos - Resistance, Lagos Roads, a 1992 work by Otobong Nkanga, born in Nigeria, based in Belgium and whose exhibition was viewed and enjoyed by Clan K in Spain a few weeks ago. And yes, there's the 'three' theme again.

If you made it to the end of this post, an extra thank you. Rest assured, a return to the usual nonsense tomorrow.
1) 3 a.m. Eternal (Rankin' Club Version By Moody Boys & The Mad Professor): The KLF (1991)
2) Yeah x 3 (X-Press 2 Remix): David Holmes ft. Raven Violet (2023)
3) Three Card Trick: The Clash (1985)
4) #3 (In The Corn Belt) (Album Version By Arthur Russell): Dinosaur L (1981)
4.1) The Three Sneezes (Original Story by Roger Duvoisin) (Part 1): Martin Wallace (2006)
5) Three (Album Version By Massive Attack & Nellee Hooper): Massive Attack ft. Nicolette (1994)
6) Three MC's And One DJ (Album Version By Beastie Boys & Mario Caldato Jr.): Beastie Boys (1998)
7) Three Minute Hero: The Selecter (1980)
8) Three And Nine: Roxy Music (1974)
9) The Three Sisters: The Cure (1994)
9.1) The Three Sneezes (Original Story by Roger Duvoisin) (Part 2): Martin Wallace (2006)
10) 3 Gypsies In A Restaurant: Billy MacKenzie (1996)
11) Three Monkey Tango: Marc Almond (2006)
12) Spit Three Times (Album Version By Kieran Hebden): Neneh Cherry (2014)
13) Jltf 3 (Ambient): Moby ft. Melody Zimmer (2009)
14) 3 Of Us (4 Your Club Mix By Steve Thompson & Michael Barbiero): Humpe Humpe (1985)
15) Three Wishes: Let It Come Down (Kramer & Xan Tyler) (2020)
16) The Three Shadows Pt.1: Bauhaus (1982)
16.1The Three Sneezes (Original Story by Roger Duvoisin) (Part 3): Martin Wallace (2006)
17) We Three Kings Of Orient Aren't: Jamie Wednesday (1986)
18) Three Girl Rhumba (Cover of Wire): Bark Psychosis (1996)
19) 3 a.m. Eternal (Almighty Radio Edit): People Of 'K' ft. Crystal (2014)
20) The Three Sneezes (Original Story by Roger Duvoisin) (Part 4): Martin Wallace (2006)

Three x3 x3 x3 (1:20:59) (KF) (Mega)

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Don't Look So Surprised...'s The Undertones performing True Confessions and three other stone cold classics on The Old Grey Whistle Test in March 1979. 
There's a better quality version of the same set - also on Spit Records YT site - but it cuts the majority of Annie Nightingale's intro, which is just wrong.
A smidge over eight minutes on-screen, four songs, all killer, no filler, parkas, jumpers, jeans with turn ups and brown DMs. Pop punk perfection.
00:53 Male Model 
02:54 Jimmy Jimmy  
06:01 Wrong Way  
07:10 True Confessions
Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Bellbottoms Truly Make Me Wanna Dance

"Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen
Right now I got to tell you about
The fabulous, most groovy...."
I was vaguely aware of Jon Spencer's previous band, Pussy Galore, and initially missed out on the Blues Explosion's early recordings. In fact, the first time I heard Bellbottoms was on a mixtape that my friend Stuart gifted me in the mid-90s. My first purchase was the Experimental Remixes EP, which included an UNKLE remix of Bellbottoms and I drifted in and out of their releases for the next six or seven years.
The name pretty much says it all: you know pretty much what you're going to get; remixes from the likes of James Lavelle, Moby, Techno Animal, Barry Adamson, David Holmes and The DFA aside, it follows a tried and tested template. 
Yet, there's something primal about the music that unlocks the urge to shake, rattle and roll every time. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion did an 8-song set for KEXP in 2011 that amply demonstrates this.

As an added bonus, here's Jon Spencer and Russell Simins appearing on What's In My Bag? in 2016, picking out the likes of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Einstürzende Neubauten, 13th Floor Elevators, Delia Derbyshire (and a snippet of the Doctor Who theme), Bo Diddley and Isaac Hayes.

The band played their final live show a month after this appearance. Judah Bauer, absent from the What's In My Bag? broadcast, developed a respiratory condition that effectively put paid to his ability to play live. This and several other factors led to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion coming to a a natural end, without fanfare.
Jon Spencer & The HITmakers have (I think) been going for a year or so, releasing their debut album Spencer Gets It Lit in 2022. If you've still got the Blues Explosion itch, The HITmakers are the proverbial scratch.

Spencer Gets It Lit is available from your friendly neighbourhood record store, Bandcamp or the other usual outlets.

Monday 4 December 2023

If Today Begins A Day Too Soon

Bill Ryder-Jones is one of those artists whose name I'm familiar with but know very little of his work.
In fact, the majority of the songs in my collection featuring him are from his time with The Coral. Solo-wise, I have a paltry pair of songs: Two To Birkenhead from 2015's third album West Kirby County Primary; the other a cover of Pink Moon from a Nick Drake tribute CD, given away with Mojo magazine in 2018.
If Tomorrow Starts Without Me was released last week as the second preview single from the album Iechyd Da (translated from Welsh as "Good Health") and it's a beauty.
Starting off with juddering strings that remind me of the intro to the Stealth Sonic Orchestra remix of Manic Street Preachers' Motorcycle Emptiness, it soon breaks into a jaunty melody, strings vying for dominance with acoustic guitar, brushed drums and keyboard swirls. Bill's voice floats over the top, a slightly croaky hushed voice as if he means it just for you, only you, and doesn't want anyone else to overhear.

I feel like I'm underselling it, it's a lovely three minutes and immediately had me checking out the previous single, This Can't Go On.

The video for If Tomorrow Starts Without Me imagines the narrator's immediate post-death experience, taking the opening lyric as a literal cure for the character to shadow his partner as a ghost in the days and weeks that follow. Visually, it's beautifully done, with hand drawn animation overlaid against a real world backdrop. Incredibly moving.

Iechyd Da is out on 12th January, with a live performance at Rough Trade East in London, before Bill goes on a UK tour in March.

If tomorrow starts without me, I'm with you
If today begins a day too soon
I've a sense of shame when it feels alright
So I've played some games but it ends tonight
As I'm fading into blue
Let's just hope that somehow I'm with you

If the monsters call you names, then I'm with you
I've had monsters play games with me too
And if I told you just in time how you're the one
Would you come or just pass through my arms?

And that sense of shame names itself anew
Was it worth the wait? What's it worth to you?
And it feels alright to be passing through
Give it one more night
Give me somеthing true
Something you'll regrеt
In that way you do
Well, I've had a good one
And I've scored a few

Sunday 3 December 2023

Can You See The Rockets?

Today's selection turns the spotlight on Nina Walsh, composer, performer, engineer, producer, supreme talent and looong overdue a Dubhed selection. I say that a lot, but I really mean it.

Sundays are often reserved for something a little bit more downtempo, a little bit more relaxed and this is no exception, although being Nina, this is more Cabaret Voltaire than Cafe Del Mar ambience.

That said, things start off with the beautiful and delicate original version of Borderland, featuring Sarah Sarhandi on viola, by Woodleigh Research Facility. Initially a joint project with Andrew Weatherall, since his death in 2020 Nina has continued to release music as WRF. Nina and Andrew's connection goes way back: previously romantically involved, the pair also founded and ran the Sabres Of Paradise and Sabrettes labels in the early 1990s, which is how I first became of Nina's work. Here's a photo the pair by John Barnett circa 2016.
Borderland was originally recorded in 2019 and was finally released as volume 4 in the Apparently Solo series of EPs. I had to include the original here as it was such a strikingly obvious opener, but the EP includes a pair of remixes, one of Andrew's last, the other by uber-producer (and former Sabre) Jagz Kooner in 2021.
The rest of the selection takes in Nina's further collaborations as Slab with Lol Hammond (Drum Club), with Alex Paterson/The Orb and solo as C-Pij, with a rare A-side and couple of remixes for Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood aka Two Lone Swordsmen.

Bringing things bang up to date is an epic remix earlier this year of In A Wonderland from Steve Queralt and Michael Smith's brilliant companion to the equally excellent Sun Moon Town album. 
Nina provides vocals on several songs, not least the closing track, Slab's cover of Mazzy Star's 1993 song Fade Into You. The original may be definitive, but I really love this cover and there's something about Nina's voice here that really gets me. It's a wonderful way to bring things to an end.

Although what is the end? A couple of weeks ago, Nina released a Woodleigh Research Facility album, Phonox Nights. Her final WRF recordings with Andrew Weatherall, it's a stunning collection, tinged with sadness and loss and yet imbued with a positivity and joie de vivre, the latter seemingly typifying their working relationship. Joe Muggs had a superb interview with the pair for Fact magazine in 2016 which captures this wonderfully.

Nina continues to make music and I think is receiving (over)due credit for her immense talent. Head over to Nina's website for links to her solo, WRF and other releases and immerse yourself in some incredible music.
1) Borderland (Original Version): Woodleigh Research Facility ft. Sarah Sarhandi (2019)
2) Mental Ground Zero: Slab ft. Younger Youth (1999)
3) Big Clapper (C-Pij Remix By Nina Walsh): Two Lone Swordsmen (1999)
4) Rabbit's Moon (Squelch Mix aka Lateral Lagomorph Mix By Lol Hammond & Nina Walsh): Slab (1997)
5) Primitive.... (Orbtij Mix By The Orb & C-Pij aka Alex Paterson & Nina Walsh): D-Kiku (1999)
6) Nostik: C-Pij (2000)
7) Aeronauts The Next Phase: Woodleigh Research Facility (2015)
8) Taste Of Our Flames: Two Lone Swordsmen ft. Nina Walsh (2004)
9) In A Wonderland (Wonk On The Gnosis Mix By Nina Walsh): Steve Queralt & Michael Smith (2023)
10) Cosmo: Slab (1999)
11) Tiny Reminder No. 1 (C-Pij Remix Vocal) (Remix By Nina Walsh): Two Lone Swordsmen (2001)
12) Plum Island (Flat Mix By Nina Walsh & Andy Sheriff): The Orb (2001)
13) Fade Into You (Single Version) (Cover of Mazzy Star): Slab (1999)

Can You See The Rockets? (1:18:26) (KF) (Mega)

Saturday 2 December 2023

Pogue, Pope, Poet

Celebrating Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan, 25th December 1957 to 30th November 2023.
I had originally planned to post this on Friday, but I just couldn't get the selection finished in time. And there's the dilemma: what to choose, when Shane MacGowan was responsible for writing some of the greatest songs of the last 100 years? And with The Pogues not just reviving but electrifying the Irish folk song tradition, bringing it crashing, flailing and cussing into contemporary culture in a way that has left an awe-inspiring legacy.

When my brother came home with The Pogues' second album Rum, Sodomy & The Lash in 1985, this 14-year old hadn't seen or heard anything like it before. The cover itself was morbidly fascinating. My Art 'O' Level class hadn't got anywhere near the work of Théodore Géricault (in fairness, neither did my 'A' Level) so I knew nothing of his most famous painting, The Raft Of The Medusa. However, the sight of various members of the band, stark bollock naked or in various states of distress was an arresting vision. Then there was Shane, shades on, sitting calmly amidst the chaos. 

The music within, produced by Elvis Costello, was a revelation. Much as I love the Shane-era Pogues albums that came before or after, Rum, Sodomy & The Lash is my favourite, encapsulating everything that is great about the band and Shane. Unsurprisingly, today's selection draws heavily from this album, although I've included some single and live versions to mix it up a little.

Half of the Poguetry In Motion EP also appears with two of the finest Pogues songs on record in The Body Of An American and A Rainy Night In Soho. I could have included more from third album If I Should Fall From Grace With God, but I had to make some ruthless cuts to get the selection to 45 minutes...which I ultimately failed to do. Then again, if you can't say fuck it to the 'rules' when compiling a tribute selection for Shane MacGowan, when can you?

I've intentionally left off Fairytale Of New York as I suspect we'll be hearing it even more than usual at this time of year and hopefully because it will get to be this year's Christmas #1 in the UK, surpassing it's original peak of #2 in 1987.
There have been lots of tributes to Shane in the past couple of days, including the always excellent Charity Chic Music and My Top Ten so I'm not sure what I can add that hasn't already said. But bloody hell, what an incredible life, talent and legacy.

Raising a glass to you, Shane, at peace but undoubtedly not resting!
1) Wild Cats Of Kilkenny (1985)
2) Boys From The County Hell (Album Version) (1984)
3) The Body Of An American (Single Version) (1986)
4) Sally MacLennane (Live @ Barrowland, Glasgow) (1987)
5) If I Should Fall From Grace With God (Live @ Brixton Academy, London) (2001)
6) A Pair Of Brown Eyes (Single Version) (1985)
7) Whiskey In A Jar (Long Version): The Pogues & The Dubliners (1989)
8) The Parting Glass (1985)
9) White City (Album Version) (1989)
10) Greenland Whale Fisheries (1984)
11) Thousands Are Sailing (Album Version) (1988)
12) A Rainy Night In Soho (Single Version) (1986)
13) Dirty Old Town (Live @ Brixton Academy, London) (2001)
14) The Old Main Drag (Album Version) (1985)
1984: Red Roses For Me: 2, 10
1985: Dirty Old Town EP: 8
1985: A Pair Of Brown Eyes EP: 6
1985: Rum, Sodomy & The Lash: 1, 14
1986: Poguetry In Motion EP: 3, 12
1988: If I Should Fall From Grace With God: 11
1988: If I Should Fall From Grace With God EP: 4
1989: Peace And Love: 9
1989: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah EP: 7
2005: The Ultimate Collection/Live At The Brixton Academy (ltd 2x CD): 5, 13
Pogue, Pope, Poet (48:03) (KF) (Mega)

Friday 1 December 2023

Jimmy Jimmy

Celebrating Dean Sullivan, 7th June 1955 to 29th November 2023.
Yes, this is ostensibly a music blog and no, I'm not aware that Dean ever released any music, though he did a bit of DJing and radio presenting. I could have sworn that he also appeared 'in character' in a video in the 1980s/90s but I'll be darned if I can find any evidence.

However, as an actor, he appeared as the unforgettable Jimmy Corkhill in Brookside, arguably the greatest UK TV soap opera of all time.
Dean's passing has been somewhat overshadowed by news of the deaths of Henry Kissinger, Alastair Darling and Shane MacGowan in the past 24 hours, so I wanted to give him a nod of thanks here.
Dean appeared on BBC TV earlier this year - with Louis Emerick aka Mick Johnson - to talk about Brookside. 
And, to keep the tenuous link to music, here's the Brookside theme tune written by Dave Roylance in full.

Thanks for providing us with years of drama as Jimmy Corkhill. Rest in peace, Dean.

Thursday 30 November 2023

There's Nothing Wrong With An Ordinary Life

Another shout out for Emily Breeze. As tomorrow is the last Bandcamp Friday of 2023, this is a further plug for an album that has been a highlight in a year of frankly great music.

Rapture, Emily's third album, was released on 10th February and in a post on 6th March, I wrote that Rapture was "a great album and deserving of a more detailed post in it's own right later on". I didn't intend "later" to be nine months but here we are...

If you search for info about Emily online, you'll inevitably pick up on the Bristol connection and comparisons to the likes of Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, UK soap Hollyoaks (!), Johnny Cash, Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood, Scott Walker... you get the gist. I stand by my comment in July 2022 that "none of those really do justice to Emily, her incisive and reflective lyrics or the band themselves". 

There may be nothing new about an artist or band who write songs that examine the minutae and mundanity of everyday life, that musically mine the depths of the blues, country, rock and punk, that gathers a set of people that alchemically create something different and special in the studio and on stage. And yet, and yet...

Rapture opens with the single Ordinary Life, released in September 2022 and which I enthused about the following month. It's a powerhouse of a song, drawing parallels with Emily's own experience as a striving artist entering their fourth decade, reflecting on and reclaiming their definition of "success". Here's a live performance of Ordinary World from Emily and band's gig at Newport's Le Pub in February 2023.
Emily writes all ten songs on the album, collaborating with Rob Norbury (lead/rhythm guitar) on half of them. Confessions Of An Ageing Party Girl is one of the co-writes, originally released as a single in 2020 and re-released this year to great acclaim (and radio play) with a shiny new remix by Daddy G (Massive Attack) vs Robot Club (Stew Jackson). It's another song chock full of musical hooks and narrative treasures. It sounds pretty fantastic on stage too, as this performance at The Phoenix in Exeter (also February this year) amply demonstrates. 
As someone who was born in Bristol and spent my callow youth in the heart of the city, I love that Emily's songs are peppered with local references, not least The Bell pub in Stokes Croft, which lends it's name to the second song on Rapture and where I spent many memorable (and not so memorable) times back in the day. 
Ordinary World is a tough act to follow, but The Bell proves very early on that it's more than up to it as a song in it's own right and an indication that this album will be something very special indeed. Here's an earlier version of the song, road tested live at The Cavern, located in the basement under The Crown pub in the city centre (another venue with great personal resonance), circa November 2021.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of rapture is "to feel or express extreme pleasure or enthusiasm for someone or something". If forty minutes in the company of Emily Breeze and band playing the album doesn't provoke a similar reaction then call 999 as you may be in need of urgent medical attention.

Rapture is available on vinyl, CD and digital formats via the brilliant (and Bristol-based, natch) Sugar Shack Records. I cannot recommend Rapture highly enough. You need this album in your life.

Oh, and whilst you're there, pop over to Emily's own Bandcamp site and pick up her previous releases. You can also find my Dubhed selection from June 2023 here.
If you are lucky enough to have tickets for Sleaford Mods' gig tonight at the O2 Academy in Bristol, get there early as Emily Breeze is on stage at 7.20pm.

If not, then Emily and band are touring again in February and March 2024, taking in London, Bristol, Nottingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Brighton, Bedford and Cambridge. It promises to be fabulous.

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Praise You

Namian Sidibé hails from Bamako, the capital of Mali, and released her debut self-titled album in May this year. 
Being on Sahel Sounds, a label that has frequently featured on fellow blogs par excellence 27 Leggies and Unthought Of, Though, Somehow and subsequently here in the past couple of years, I suspected that I was in for a treat and I wasn't disappointed.
Presented in the promo as "Another side of modern Malian praise songs", I've subsequently discovered that Namian Sidibé's first album is something of a departure for the artist herself.
Were I not an ageing, creaking sack of flesh and bones on an inexorable stumble to obsolescence, I might already be familiar with Namian as one of her 527,500 (and counting) followers on Tik Tok, regularly entertained by her singing and her rather wonderful wardrobe. But I am and I'm not, so it was my regular shopping visit to Sahel Sounds on Bandcamp Friday that introduced me to Namian Sidibé and her music. Or "another side" of it, at least.
The album is 8 songs and a little over half an hour, recorded at home and accompanied by her cousin Jules Diabaté on acoustic guitar. There's an earthy ambience throughout: you can feel the ambience of her environment, the sounds of traffic, people and the occasional mobile phone bleeding into the overall sound. Jules' playing is pitched to the required level of providing a simple framework for the songs, never showy and leaving plenty of room for Namian's voice.
Squinting at a grainy scan of the vinyl album's sleevenotes on Discogs - I bought the digital version - opening song Souna appears to be about the titular character, "a famous maker of fetish objects" who lived in Ségou. He also apparently practised "occult sciences" and helped people all over the world. This is one of many praise songs that have continued long after his death.

Djougouya Mangni is "a general warning not to attach evil to the good" and "to be good once and for all", which I can get with.

Whilst the basic stylings of the songs means the album skirts close to the borders of repetition at times, Namian Sidibé's vocal performance imbues each song with an individual character and drive. This is even more evident with the closing song, an a capella version of Môgôya, just Namian's voice and Bamako's background hum. 
Môgôya "describes the duplicitous, hypocritical nature of human beings" and "their propensity for destruction, harm and stubbornness". Not quite the lyrical theme that I was expecting, but it's a moving listen and a testament to Namian's voice that I've frequently pressed repeat on this song as a single listen just isn't enough.

Here's a version of Môgôya from 2020. Still fairly restrained in respect of the musical palette, but personally not a patch on the a capella version.
Last month, Namian Sidibé released the video for a new song, Furu. Trusting in a free online tool, I believe furu translates as marriage. The narrative of the video itself may also be a clue...

All good stuff, but there's something about Namian Sidibé's "unplugged' debut that resonated with me and has borne repeated listens since the summer. Bandcamp Friday is here again in a couple of days, when Sahel Sounds make their catalogue available as a name your price purchase. I'd recommend adding Namian Sidibé's album to your shopping cart.