Jama Ko - Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba
Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Jun 4, 2013
    80
    Kouyate has recorded more consistent albums than this but, as a statement of defiance, Jama Ko could be his most important work.
  2. May 29, 2013
    70
    Jama Ko is, for twelve of its thirteen songs, political in the best way, using a deeply focused aesthetic both to engage with and as a momentary escape from the social environment which produced it.
  3. Apr 29, 2013
    80
    Ngoni Ba was already remarkable for its plucked, pointillist modal grooves, and on Jama Ko, its passionate defense of Malian culture makes the music even sharper.
  4. Two melodies reach back centuries. Strong-voiced frontwoman Amy Sacko delivers the word. And although the ngoni is a mere lute, Kouyate gets more noises you want to hear out of his strings than any two jam-band hotshots you can name.
  5. Apr 2, 2013
    90
    Although political in nature, the feel of the record is unabashedly joyful and if Jama ko doesn't form part of your summer listening, you are missing out on something very special.
  6. Mar 13, 2013
    90
    A creative triumph out of Mali's darkest hour. [Mar 2013, p.73]
  7. Mar 13, 2013
    80
    The n’gonis are always upfront, but this is also an album of stunning vocals.
  8. Mar 13, 2013
    80
    An album for anybody who likes rock music to sound angry about something. [Mar 2013, p.89]
  9. 100
    Kouyate's electrification of his ngoni lute is just as effective a sign of resistance: fed through a wah-wah pedal, his serpentine, fleet-fingered lead lines gain a fresh, assertive power on songs.
  10. Mar 13, 2013
    80
    It's Bassekou who dominates, with a new, tougher, amplified ngoni style that shows the influence of co-producer Howard Bilerman.... Magnificent.
  11. The end result is a tense, powerful and emotive piece of work.
User Score
5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 1 out of 1
  1. Sep 7, 2013
    3
    For fans only. Like probably 99+% of metacritic users I know nothing about this style of music, so i cant tell if these guys are the rolling stones or the milli vanilli of the genre. but for the most part, while the music is pretty in parts, i found the vocals annoying to unlistenable. i try to keep my mind open, but this album did not whet my appetite in wanting to explore African music. Why do critics always swoon over anything that's international or a re-issue? Full Review »