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"Senegal's soul sensation gets silky"

There's a plethora of talented Senegalese singer-songwriters around at the moment, but few have the musical breadth of Nuru Kane. Starting out playing good-time party mbalax (think early Youssou N'Dour) he had a rethink after visiting Marrakech. The result is trance-like gnawa meets Senegalese soul, meets Malian blues, meets Fela Kuti, with a touch of Bob Marley.

Production-wise the sound is pared down - so no thumping bass lines - but overall it's a funky roots melange with Kane's soulful delivery sounding like a silky hybrid of Marley and Keziah Jones.

- The Observer Music Monthly

"4of 5 Stars Average"

Born and raised in Senegal, Nuru Kane travelled through Morroco and settled in Paris. His broad influences combine to make this debut CD a masterpiece. An uncommonly gifted instrumentalist, Kane plays guitar, bass, and the guimbri - a three-stringed acoustic bass - and sings alternately in Wolof and French. He masters a wide range of styles, from the infectious afro-pop jitter of "Niane" to the North African trance of "Caribe" and the electrifying powerhouse soul of the title track. Throughout, he exhibits a dexterity and invetiveness to put most famous players to shame.

EVAN SERPICK - Rolling Stone.com

"Out of this World music"

It's quite a naively titled genre, World Music. There is such a depth of diversity that our 'Western Music' with it's multiple categories and sub-categories seems rather shallow. Nuru Kane's Sigil is one album in a sea of traditonally-influenced, verging on contemporary, richly tapestry-like West African music. I saw Nuru Kane and the band he works with, Bayefall Gnawa, at a festival. They performed with the energy of a hunt, the passion of new lovers and the precision and musicality of the lead violin in London Philarmonic. Their stage presence was such that we became largely unaware of the stage, just captivated by these characters and their sounds and selves. I bought the album, mainly to remind me of this moment but have found it has its own place of reverence, seperate from the memory of a performance (memories can often induce a rose-tinted reaction). The album stands on its own merits, has enough differences from th live show to detach from it, and is my favourite album of 2006. I longed for the brilliance of more established artists such as Ali Farka Toure to knock it off the top spot, but the strength and reslience in this album has stood firm. There's even a huge slice of 'cool', that makes you want to turn it up and drive round town saying "check out what I'm listening to!" - Amazon.co.uk

"Nur Kane"

Nuru Kane (pronounced N'roo Khan) hails from the same neighbourhood as the mighty Youssou N'Dour - the Dakar suburb of Medina. Having spent four years in Paris, collecting together his band, Baye Fall Gnawa, a blend of musicians from France, Mali, Morocco & Senegal, and polishing his sound and performance, Kane began to travel more widely to perform. Before long he met with London-based impresario Pete Holden through whose management he's formed a relationship with one of the UK's best indie world music labels, Riverboat Records. A series of sessions in Scotland (Sigil is produced by Mouth Music's Martin Swan) & Paris during the summer of 2005 resulted in this lovely debut which blends the laid-back approach of Cheikh Lo with the uptempo style popularised by Baaba Maal & the afore-mentioned Youssou.
Kane's style draws in more influences than most of his compatriots, although a recent trend to take in sounds from the countries to the north has also been evident in work such as Thione Seck's Planets-nominated Orientation. A powerful undercurrent of Gnawa music pulses through Kane's sound, driving a familiar style into new, exciting territory. The fusion, although perhaps not immediately obvious, is an effective one, using the broader range of instrumentation and music to draw on and develop the classic mbalax rhythm. Not to avoid Kane's other side, though, - the reflective, gentle tracks which make up about a third of this album, featuring Nuru on vocal and guitar are softly insinuating, trance-like and compelling, particularly when he plays the plangent-voiced Moroccan gimbi. More accessible than Cheikh Lo, more danceable than many a mbalax pretender and with the pose and personality to bring his live performance to sparkling life, Nuru seems set to be one of 2006's big new names. Here's a clip from Sigil.

- The Phat Planet

"A musical road show"

The United Kingdom is currently being seduced by powerful and hypnotic African music incorporating rock, juju, Senegalese mbalax and Congolese rumba.
Different regional, ethnic and cultural twists have all enhanced and made more popular the music of Africa. Of course French and Portuguese colonialism and subsequently imperialism left more than just scratch marks on the music coming from the continent. In spite of this, every art form, as it develops accumulates its own peculiar style, clichÈs and allusions, tending to get more wrapped up in itself rather than the world outside. Then some artistic tremor occurs to cleanse the stable, stripping things down to the bare essentials. E K'ABO brings you two African artists who are stripping things by producing innovative tradition-based works ... that explore the infinite possibilities of jingle, rhythm and harmony within and across regional frameworks. They are currently on a tour spanning the United Kingdom, France and The Netherlands, while celebrating the influence of migration on music. They are Senegal's singer/song writer Nuru Kane, and musical maverick Cheikh Lo.

Nuru Kane was born 33 years ago in Medina, Dakar - real name Papa Nouroudine Kane. His distinctive take on Senegalese music has not gone unnoticed by music journalists and the buying public in Africa and Europe because it explores the connections between the music of north and west Africa - a musical journey across the Sahara - while also bringing the tradition of Senegalese music into 21st century. His new album SIGIL, is genuinely pure, uncluttered sounds that encapsulate Kane's range of influences, from his blues-led solo songs and Afro-beat (reminiscent of his love of Bob Marley, Fela Kuti and of Ali Farka Toure), through to the driving gnawa trance that forms the backbone of his pulsating live performances.
Kane's live performance at The Spitz witnessed by E K'ABO showed the awesome genius of his African tunes in all their greatness. His BayeFall Gnawa group named after the BayeFall (a west African Islamic brotherhood) is a compelling five-piece band not to be missed. On stage Kane is dressed in flamboyant combatant/traditional over-the-top clothing with an extravagant cotton hat strategically pitched on his dreadlocks and with his guimbri (large gnawa lute) slung round his neck.
It was a performance that not only added visual interest but also seemed to trigger the audience - a bizarre mix of pretentious intellectuals, self proclaimed world music experts and everyone in between - to do what they imagined was the African dance steps. The audience clearly knew many of the songs, from the album Sigil, although only a minority came from the African community. The first song is Kane's perfect aching rendition of Cheikh Antao, a funk-jazz tune that I can't seem to shake off. His voice is wonderful, smooth and soulful and the song's a mixture of high-tempo, slow and steamy movements but very intriguing.
Hotly tipped as the next big African star, I arranged to meet him for a brief interview. He is strikingly handsome - all seven foot of him and obscenely gorgeous. Kane has only spoken English consistently for a year he informs me and his French-African accent slides words together. It is mesmerising.
I put it to him that music critics and promoters include him on a list of World Music's leading artistes who epitomise music's ability to speak to everyone. How is he handling such rave review? Shyly, he said: "I have no pressure, but I am very pleased. I just want to play music," he answers.
Is he on a spiritual mission, with his new songs that are influenced by BayeFall Gnawa?
Kane: "In Africa spiritual and dance songs can be one and the same. I am a follower of BayeFall brotherhood, however I have not set out on a particular religious crusade, BayeFall Gnawa is me."
He says he sings for BayeFall, for religion, for peace, for his family and about the struggles of his continent, torn apart by never-ending guerrilla and communal wars. "Yes, the lyrics of Sigil are a projection of my soul and my life's experiences."
Kane got his break at Mali's Festival in the Desert in 2004. He was asked to perform just five days before the acclaimed event, having been spotted by an organiser at a club in Paris. Success was instant. Several music critics including the BBC World Music described his performance as one of the festival's highlights.

- Africa Today

"Nuru Kane Band, Komedia, Brighton"

The singer unites the music of north and west Africa

It seemed like half of Brighton came out to watch this gig by Senegalese singer Nuru Kane and his band. I have never seen Komedia this crowded or a full house have so much fun.
The six musicians, in African clothes and playing traditional instruments, cast a spell on the room with their hypnotic stage presence, perfect audience rapport and music with calypso (???), reggae and blues rhythms.
From the opening song, the audience were dancing and singing along after being taught the lyrics by Nuru Kane. Sometimes the supremely talented drummer Mamadou took over the performance, with the band happy to stand by and let him show his stuff.

Nuru Kane is said to unite the music of north and west Africa. Even the instruments, which included the kora, the West African harp and the derbouka, a Middle Eastern percussion instrument, did that.
The multi-national Senegalese, French and Algerian band was supported by Joshua C Edwards, a shy and passionate American-influenced singer/guitarist performing his own angst-ridden songs and covering Johnny Cash.
- The Guide by Rachel Pegg

"Nuru Kane"

‘Nuru Kane has already caused a stir on the concert circuit, following an attention grabbing appearance at Mali’s Festival In The Desert in 2004, by achieving the almost impossible feat of silencing the chattering classes in Momo’s Kemia Bar in London. On the evidence of this fascinating (if a tad over-long) collection, it’s easy to see why. Kane builds up sparse, atmospheric songs of praise and social issues… There’s nothing showy about Nuru’s singing either – his voice is communicative and clear with a blues lilt, particularly on Djoloff… The angry, up-tempo Colere will appeal to those who might wonder what an acoustic Tinariwen would sound like, with oud and bass competing for attention with hand-claps and call-and-response vocals. The epic concert favourite Mami brings a hugely promising debut release to an appropriately engaging end.’ - Froots

"Africa on your street"

This years nominees for the best in African Music.
2006 has already been an exciting year for African music. The much awaited African Soul Rebels UK wide tour with Souad Massi, Amadou and Mariam and Emmanuel Jal has brought in the crowds in every town - here in Bristol it was sold out days before they arrived. I hope that it gave everyone who went along to one of the gigs a real insight into the depth and breadth of African music in 2006. But first, a musician who embodies that breadth, bringing together the music of Senegal and Morocco.
Nuru Kane
Nuru Kane was born in Medina, Dakar and has been playing bass and guitar in various bands in Senegal since 1990's. After a trip to Morocco, he became fascinated by the 'gnawa'†sounds and rhythms of North Africa. And since then this has been a major influence in his own musical journey. Having learnt to play the 'guimbri' - a†3 stringed acoustic bass instrument central to Gnawa music†- Nuru has been experimenting and playing with some of the best musicians from North and West Africa.

In his first international album 'Sigil', Nuru Kane is finally able to show the world just how beautifully he has captured the sprit of gnawa†music. The album is lyrically potent, with songs about religious teachings, imperialism and†the violence that we live with. Songs like 'Goree' which was recorded live really show off his vocal talents. The bluesy take on African music that you hear on this album is what really makes it stand out.This is an original and beautifully crafted musical fusion of two very different cultures of† Africa. A real treat for those who appreciate music that comes from the heart. Look out for its release in March.†Nuru Kane will be in Bristol soon: 23 March 2006 - Fiddlers, Bristol† (0117 929 9008).
Chino Odimba
- bbc radio “Africa on your street” website

"Nuru Kane's music is a true form of Afro-beat fusion"

The young, charismatic, strikingly handsome Senegalese musician Nuru Kane is sitting in the office of his manager Pete Holden's flat in a Bermondsey tower block, looking out over London's grey skyline. He's trying to explain the name of his new album Sigil, but we're having trouble. Kane has only spoken English cohesively for a year, and his French-African accent slides words together.
Then, suddenly, his friendly demeanour gives way to a steely gaze. "Each song I sing on the album is a representation of my life's experiences. Some of these things make me proud, some don't. But with this album, I see a picture of me being proud of who I am, and not afraid to tell people what I think. So Sigil is standing up and looking directly into your neighbour's eyes, and being proud of who you are."
Sigil is a rare treat. Its mix of Senegalese traditional singing, Afro-beat, soul, funk, reggae and Moroccan gnawa transcends boundaries, but is both accessible and intoxicating. Kane has the voice, the charm, the intelligence and the musicality to stand alongside the likes of Amadou and Mariam and his more illustrious Senegalese counterparts.
Piecing together his story is as tricky as stitching together the patchwork clothes worn by followers of his Baye Fall religion. He was born 33 years ago in Dakar, one of six children, real name Papa Nouroudine Kane. The surname is common among the Peul people, formerly a nomadic tribe. He was brought up in the area known as MÈdina-Coura; a thriving district, also the birthplace of Youssou N'Dour.
"In school, I was intelligent," he says proudly. "I was part of a breakdancing team, competing with other areas. One day a friend said, 'Hey, Nuru, do you see all these people here trying to make music?' We decided to form a band. The day after I built my first guitar, finding a makeshift body and fashioning six strings out of old fishing wire.
"I began to play without any real direction, but noticed that I could get a rhythm. My friends noticed it, too. Two years later my mother bought me my first guitar." It was a bass guitar. Six years later he formed a band, African Children, which Kane describes as "Afro-funk with traditional Senegalese influences. It was music for people who wanted to go out and party."
He listened to European music on the radio and fell in love with the blues, and with Bob Marley and Fela Kuti. "I began to change my style of singing; like European blues, but more funky. When I would hear heavy funk I would sing in a traditional Senegalese style. I've always liked this kind of bizarre mix."
Then Kane decided to move to France. His French wife was homesick and wanted him to help bring up their daughter in Paris. At the start, he found it hard to acclimatise and struggled to find work, having to busk in the Metro. Then he met some French musicians and formed the band Nixma Ridial (it means "adventurer"), playing the songs he'd written and performed in Senegal. Although he now had a saxophonist and a tight rhythm-section, he'd not yet found his true direction. That came two years later on a trip to Marrakech.
"Like all the tourists, I was drawn to Djemaa el-Fna, and I could hear this sound coming from somewhere near the market. I followed it and saw one man playing. I asked him what his instrument was. He said it was a guimbri [a melodic three-string acoustic bass]. I instantly fell in love with it. I was convinced he was Senegalese, playing both Senegalese and Malian rhythms."
Back in Paris, Kane bought a guimbri and practised solidly for two years. He returned to Marrakech, but was told he was still playing incorrectly. "I'd never been to school to learn music. I had to scrap what I'd learnt in two years by listening to tapes and other musicians, and start again."
Kane established himself on the French gnawa scene, attracting the attention of top Moroccan acts such as Nass El Ghiwane and Jil Jilala, who would invite him to play when they toured France. "Now I'm the only West African playing the guimbri," he says. "But I still play in a Senegalese style, as well as the Arabic way. I can adapt the sound to suit both palates, and the gnawa musicians respond because they know its roots are in West Africa. Now I'm the only one who sings in the original language."
Kane's break came at Mali's Festival in the Desert in 2004. He was asked to perform just five days before the event, having been spotted by an organiser at a club in Paris. There wasn't time to put his name on the flyers, but his set on the final day caused a wave of excitement among other performers and assembled BBC types and critics.
The acclaim galvanised him, and soon he formed a new band, Bayefall Gnawa, with the French guitarist Thierry Fournel and the n'goni player Djeli Makan Sissoko. "I love Malian blues, and Ali Farka TourÈ became my biggest influence, alongside the nomadic Tuareg people.
"It made me think: why don't Africans make real African fusion? All our instruments are traditional, but - The Independent

"Nuru Kane Sigil Riverboat"

Originally created by black African slaves, the driving trance rhythms of Morocco's gnawa brotherhoods have inspired many Western artists, from William Burroughs to jazzman Randy Weston. But this must be the first time they have received the attention of an African musician - on the arresting debut of a young Senegalese singer, recorded in the unlikely setting of a Scottish borders cottage.

Having encountered the gnawas' booming bass lutes and crashing percussion on a trip to Marrakesh, Paris-based Nuru Kane began fusing them into a brew of grittily plaintive Senegalese sounds that has gone down particularly well with British audiences - hence the recording location. Here he uses the gnawa elements fairly sparingly, avoiding the monotony that can make this music difficult on disc and letting his commanding voice ring out through a bluesily energising mess of plinking and rattling evocative of a kind of pan-Saharan Velvet Underground.

While Kane is no great master of the guimbri - the gnawa lute - he plays a mean electric guitar, his throwaway, almost psychedelic phrasing delightfully offset by producer Martin Swan's searing neo-Celtic fiddle. Mark Hudson
- Daily Telegraph (UK)


Nuru Kane "Sigil" - 2006 - Riverboat Records/World Music Network



NURU KANE is an exceptional talent. On stage he is a dynamo, energised and liberated,enthralling and intoxicating. His unique sound and presence is backed by the magnificent BAYEFALL GNAWA band which includes the masterly young
French guitarist and oud player Thierry Fournel,the gregarious Algerian singer and percussionist Abdelkader Tab, the Senegalese kora player Kadialy Kouyate, Mamadou Sarr (Senegal) on calabasse and djembe and Joauad El Garouge (Morocco) on cacabasse, bindi and guimbri. All the band contribute vocals.

Following the release of his debut cd SIGIL in the spring of 2006 Nuru Kane & Bayefall Gnawa took to the road with an extensive tour of the UK followed by dates in Holland, Germany, Portugal , Sweden, France and Morocco.

Whether playing clubs or festivals the response was uniform. From the moment Nuru takes the stage audiences are captivated by his physical presence and disarmed by his warmth, humour and obvious sincereity. With this band every gig is different but what each performance does share is the sense of adventure and musical risk offset by the sheer genius and inventiveness of the musicians and the palpable unity forged between performers and audiences.

The Bayefall Gnawa’s unique line up combines acoustic instruments from West Africa (kora, n’goni, calabasse and djembe) with the cacabas and oud, instruments more commonly used by North African and Arabic musicians. The whole Bayefall Gnawa sound revolves around and responds too Nuru’s beloved guimbri a three stringed acoustic bass that forms the muscular core of the gnawa trance rhythms.

On top of the music sits Nuru’s big golden baritone of a voice, clear strong and captivating he can howl, growl or spread honey as needs insist. This vocal powerhouse is backed by the Bayefall Gnawa’s beautiful chorus and backing vocals and partnered by the Arabic contributions from Kada and Jaouad.

Although Bayefall Gnawa’sinstrumentation is acoustic the sound and energy they generate is electricfying.

Nuru comes from Medina in Dakar , Senegal and was originally a lead dancer in a youth dance troupe. He was well into his mid-teens before he first learnt to play bass guitar and began singing and playing in bands. Local boy Youssou N’dour was, of course, a major influence but Nuru also found himself drawn to the blues, pop, reggae and jazz. He moved to Paris in the late nineties and soon after he took his first trip to Morocco where he heard Gn awa music close up for the first time. He was immediately captivated by the rhythm’s, energy and spontinaity of Gnawa and became wholly entranced by the deep rolling sound of the guimbri. He returned to Europe with a guimbri of his own and quickly joined forces with Thierry Fournel to form a fledgling Bayefall Gnawa.
The band first gained recognition outside of Paris in 2004 when they accepted a last minute invitation to play at Mali’s Festival in the Desert. Although their performance on the last day wasn’t mentioned in the programme (and despite Nuru suffering from a heavy bout of Malaria) they went down a storm and the gig was captured by a BBC film crew who were recording the festival. This success led to an invitation for Nuru to play solo in London and from there many more concerts, both solo and with Bayefall Gnawa, and a record deal with World Music Network quickly followed.

Nuru’s debut album SIGIL was released worldwide in the spring of 2006. It instantly won widespread praise in special ist music magazines, mainstream press, web review pages and amongst world DJ’s worldwide. Hailed by Rolling Stone.com as “ a masterpiece” the album was a “Top of the World” choice in Songlines and described as a “must have” by Amazon’s editors. SIGIL’s success was cemented when promoters, festival organisers, agents, record labels and venue managers from around the world attending the 2006 WOMEX expo in Seville nominated Nuru as “Best Newcomer” for the 2007 BBC 3 Awards for World Music.

Recent research in the UK showed that African Caribbean men in the country are almost 3 times as likely to develop Prostate Cancer as white men. The cause of this is unknown, it may be genetic, dietry or both but it is clear that men are less likely to check themselves regularly and often delay going to the doctor when there may be a problem. If caught early enough Prostate cancer is very treatable with high rates of recovery.

Nuru is proud to have been invited to endorse and support the awareness raising work of the Prostate Cancer Charity.

www.prostate-cancer org.uk