Boubacar Traoré took his guitar and strode out into the fields outside of Bamako. There, in the country quiet, he wrote a dozen new songs in a month. “Town is too noisy. And I didn’t go to the bush, but I left my guitar here, on my farm. Because I know here, I’m on a leash,” Traoré told a recent interviewer. That leash, that connection to land and family, resulted in Mali Denhou (Lusafrica; June 14, 2011 - distributed by Harmonia Mundi). On Traoré’s first studio album in six years, the kindly, gritty voice of the veteran Malian bluesman intertwines with wonderfully idiosyncratic, cascading guitar. Wistful and pensive, Traoré exhorts, gives thanks, and reflects on love, history, and duty, with a deceptive simplicity and a deep, subtle knowledge of Mandingo tradition and West African vintage pop. We can't wait to hear the new album.