The appearance of Penny Penny's Shaka Bundu in the American market is welcome not only in itself, but also as a sign of a larger trend. Five or six years ago, it was clear the music business was going into long-term sales decline, and I was certain that a prime victim of that would be African pop. The established imports of the '80s and '90s would be available as MP3 downloads, but surely new discoveries and reissues would slow to a trickle, if not cease altogether. I'm grateful that that has simply not happened.
Tracks on a new live album of music recorded at the Festival au Desert include performances by Canadian-Indian singer Kiran Ahluwalia (backed by desert blues band Tinariwen), Afropop legend Habib Koite, Timbutku singer Khaira Arby and Touareg rock group Tartit.