Moh! Kouyate knows his history, but he also knows where he’s going next. Steeped in the flowing Mandinka guitar lines of West Africa, this is a man who wants to direct them into the mainstream, on occasion applying this venerable tradition to a poppier sound. It’s a tough job to pull off, but Moh! successfully strikes a tasteful balance, aided by his heritage which has included working with both kora king Ba Cissokho and Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara. While the poppier songs succeed because they never sound forced or contrived, this is a musician who is also utterly convincing on the less exuberant, more traditional-sounding material. Allied to this his natural charm and easy presence as a bandleader and you have someone who’s rightfully stepping out of the session-musician shadows. The Guardian’s correspondent declared Moh! to be “a classy and versatile musician, and clearly a man to watch”. Dead right.
Moh! Kouyaté lead singer, guitar
Sékou Kouyaté guitar
Sylvain Ruby bass guitar
Thibaut Brandalise drums