Global Griot

Eric Bibb

Stony Plain, 2018

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Eric Bibb’s career has been one of exploration, creativity, and change. His early career found him as a gentle folk singer emulating Greenwich Village folk singers such as Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Odetta. As time passed, he began fusing blues into his folk music. His latest album finds him returning to his cultural roots as he has added West African rhythms to his sound.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

His latest release, Global Griot, continues his musical metamorphosis by exploring and adapting some of West Africa’s culture and stories into his music. The word griot is an African word for a member of a caste who is responsible for maintaining an oral record of tribal history through music, poetry, and storytelling. Bibb expands this concept and moves his music outward into the world around him.

Global Griot is a career defining statement and his most distinctive and powerful to date. It is also his most ambitious, containing 24 songs spread over two discs.

Sometimes his approach belies the social commentary. For instance, “We Don’t Care,” “What’s He Gonna Say Today,” “Race And Equality,” and “Where’s The Money At” tackle a number of social and political issues.

Bibb has always had a spiritual presence in his music, and here, songs such as “Let God,” “Listen For The Spirit,” and a simple “Michael, Row Da Boat Ashore” provide a nice counterpoint to the other material as they are interspersed throughout the album.

West African musicians Solo Cissokho (playing a kora, a 22 string harp-type instrument) and Habib Koite fuse their unique styles into the mix, creating an interesting cross-cultural sound.

Anyone acquainted with the music of Eric Bibb will find Global Griot full of surprises, yet never straying too far from the familiar. Several decades in his career, he may have produced his most accomplished album of music yet.

Rating: A-

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