Harouna Samake is a Malian kamale ngoni player from Dissan near Sikasso, a town in the far south of the country. At the age of eight he became fascinated by the traditional instrument that resembles a kora more than it does the ngoni. Rather than accompanying his brother to the school in the neighboring village, Harouna worked his parents' fields, leaving him more time to devote to his music. Samake collected the necessary parts to make a kamale ngoni and went to Amara Bocher, a local kamale ngoni player, to ask him for help in assembling the instrument. Don't hesitate to call Harouna Samake a musical prodigy, as the man has been one of Salif Keita's regular musicians for about twenty years now, and in the meantime has also played with the likes of, among others, Blick Bassy, Etienne Mbappé and Bassekou Kouyate. But now the time was right for a solo album, and with 'Kamale Blues', Harouna once again proves his mastery. 'Try Voice', a song for which Samake switches to (broken) English, wasn't really our cup of tea, but the other tracks, with Harouna singing in Bambara and French, and in which he deals with subjects like immigration, inequality, gender relations and human rights, are all truly enjoyable tunes, often up-tempo (opener 'Ayé Namè', 'Lanaya Fouru' or 'N'tongoli'), and occasionally beautifully intimate ('Il Est Temps'). 'Balazan' was given a slight reggae vibe, and if you really want to hear Samake's virtuosity on the kamale ngoni in all its simplicity, definitely check out the instrumental 'Dissan Konon'. Excellent Malian album on which Samake shows himself to be the ideal ambassador of his instrument, the kamale ngoni!