Seya [World Circuit/ Nonesuch]
For her fifth album, Malian songstress Oumou Sangaré has concocted an intoxicating mixture of traditional and modern elements. For much of the album, bass takes a back seat to indigenous instruments such as balafon, the beautifully buzzy West African xylophone, but where bass does pop out, it makes the overall blend all the sweeter. Sekou Ba unleashes stellar Fela-like funk on album opener “Sounsoumba,” and Sekou Kante’s unyielding groove makes the momentum of “Wele Wele Wintou” utterly exhilarating. Elsewhere, Guy N’Sangue personifies good taste with staid, steady accompaniment.