Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 1:48 pm
By Anastasia Tsioulcas
Here comes another generation of masterful West African grooves: the Malian group SMOD, making its U.S. debut. If there's a familiar, lilting guitar-and-song groove underpinning the band's layers of hip-hop rhymes, don't be surprised; one of the members, Sam, is the son of the phenomenal duo Amadou and Mariam.
SMOD has benefited from that sphere of music's influence; the visionary Manu Chao, who produced Sam's parents' excellent album Dimanche à Bamako, also produced SMOD's debut. With tightly wound vocal harmonies and effervescent guitar played by Sam, the singing was even more effective than the rapping.