Salif KEita Moffou (Verve) Rating: NNNNN
Although Moffou is being touted as a "return to the roots" for golden-voiced Malian crooner Salif Keïta, it's actually more of a Salif unplugged album, since his roots are really in the jazzy Afrofunk dance music of the legendary Rail Band. Perhaps learning a few things from the global success of his protégé, Rokia Traore, Keïta gives up the synth-smoothing and relies mostly on an acoustic backing for an enjoyably rootsy sound. A pan-Africanist at heart, Keïta freely mixes elements of Senegalese, Guinean and Malian styles in a contemporary way to create a heady ancient-future hybrid for his gorgeous soaring voice. Just beautiful.