The new Mama Dance release “West African Odysseys & Atmospheres” (MD178) consists of largely acoustic West African tracks perfect for wildlife, travel, documentary and film productions, but they also hold a very important place for me personally.

It has been an opportunity for me to give credit to our African musical ancestors whom I have revered for over 3 decades since I first head Salif Keita’s brilliant and timeless “Soro”. Through that entry to the Malian “griot” tradition (“griots” or “djelis” are hereditory West African musicians, bards or storytellers) I have learned much about a deep commitment to art and life.

The album prominently features the beautiful Malian instrument kamale ngoni (young man’s kora – left). Listen to “A!! Akimbo” on the playlist which features it. Many thanks to my friend Andrew Hendrikse for procuring it in Ghana.

Further inspirations for this album include Ali Farka Toure and Boubacar Traore, both acoustic guitarists of sublime subtlety. And many more from that part of the world and beyond … Anouar Brahem, Toumani Diabate, Tinariwen, Ayub Ogada and Mark Knopfler.