Daby Toure Stereo Spirit Review

Released 2007.  

BBC Review

This isn’t an album that takes time to appreciate; its effects are immediate and...

Jan Gilbert 2007

Daby Touré’s second solo album should come with a warning: 'After One Listening, You Won’t Be Able To Get This Album Out of Your Head!'. But that’s certainly no bad thing. Stereo Spirit is a glorious fusion of the sounds of both his roots in Mauritania and his years living in Paris, blending the languages of his childhood, Wolof, Soninké, and Pulaar, with English.

When Daby can produce an album of such soulful, catchy tracks as those on offer here, it’s easy to see why he was nominated for best newcomer in the BBC Awards for World Music in 2006. Not only does he possess a deliciously warm voice, as at home producing rich low sounds as it is creating crisp high-register notes, he’s also a talented musician and songwriter.

In fact, he’s a real one-man band: he wrote all the tracks on his latest album, and plays all his own instruments, including guitars, bass, drums, and nord lead. Although Daby is no stranger to working alongside other musicians, having released an album with Touré Touré, the band he formed with his cousin Omar, it’s on solo projects like Stereo Spirit where he’s most comfortable. From the bucketfuls of artistic freedom Daby’s enjoyed on this work, he’s created an album that will have you hooked from the very first track, “Kebaluso”, a hypnotically rhythmic song of a country’s need for unity; through the achingly beautiful “Banta”, a song of separation from a loved one; to the up-tempo final track “Wasso”.

Stereo Spirit is a testament to the power of music to transcend linguistic barriers. Daby’s sweetly haunting vocals and striking melodies have an ability to touch the listener, whether or not they share a common language. This isn’t an album that takes time to appreciate; its effects are immediate and long lasting. From the first time you hear it, prepare to hum along, tap your toes, and be mesmerised by Daby’s infectious brand of global soul-tinged pop.

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