My favorite cd of year thus far is SMOD by SMOD (Nacional Records, 2011). It is produced by one of my favorite artists, Manu Chao and it carries his signature psychedelic bounce with reggae bass lines, one-note melodies and dubby chants. Manu Chao also produced one of my favorite cd’s of all time, the groundbreaking album, Dimanche a Bamako, by the accomplished duo, Amadou and Mariam. One member of SMOD is Sam, son of Amadou and Mariam, who Manu Chao met in 2005 when he was producing Dimanche a Bamako in Mali. At that time Sam and his friends had formed a group to make “African Rap”. Manu Chao was staying at Amadou and Mariam’s house and heard these young guys rehearsing on the roof late at night. He liked what he heard and volunteered to produce their cd. The SMOD trio observed the international success Amadou and Mariam achieved using Mali’s musical heritage with some catchy riffs, so they traced a similar path through pop, rock and the bluesy Malian tradition and added hip hop (which is what the Mali youth listen to) to the formula. The result is a great mix of Mali style guitar work with catchy Manu Chao riffs with political lyrics and some African rap in there. It is such happy music and sooooo catchy.
Here are 2 videos of 2 of the songs from the cd: