An enchanting journey through nine responses to love, Banco de Gaia’s ninth studio album arrives at a time when the world needs it more than many of us may realise. Featuring special guest artists, from Pink Floyd’s Dick Parry, Zero 7’s Sophie Barker, The The’s James Eller and No-Man’s Tim Bowness, The 9th of Nine Hearts is a celebration of the spark in all of us: the concept of love itself. Fusing ambient, psychedelia, art rock and acid house, each track evolves naturally into the next, with love the starting point to them all.
When Foday Musa Suso teamed with drummer Hamid Drake in the ‘80s to form the Mandingo Griot Society, the usage of kora and the American drum kit was a novelty, and successfully but precariously placed the traditions of African village music and jazz oriented polyrhythms in a new place. Suso and the veteran drummer Jack DeJohnette team up in duets that do not juxtapose, but complement the rhythmic strengths of the different instruments, creating a language of their own. Suso is happy to play the vibrant shimmering melodies his 21-string instrument uniquely brings to the table, while DeJohnette adopts a sensitive, supportive rather than similarly melodic role, forming funky beats, cymbal accents, and colorations that shade rather than drive the music.