Label: Wrasse Records (US)
Senegalese-born, Paris-based, Wasis Diop cleaves to no single culture: At various points of Judu Bek he brings to mind Kenny G, Leonard Cohen and T-Bone Burnett. The music is a dark, cinematic ocean, with Senegalese pop breaking the surface, tabla muttering in the background, French chanson flickering on a distant TV screen. A smattering of Kenny G twitters, and just when you're about to feel disappointed, he starts singing like Leonard Cohen. Judu Bek may not be perfect, but it's the product of a deeply original musical mind, a subtly alluring offering of grave and glowing music.