The mission of Six Degrees Records is to prove that different cultures and musical styles do have some common ground. Malian singer Issa Bagayogo reaffirms this commonality on Timbuktu, finding the middle ground between traditional West African music--created with his six-stringed lute, acoustic guitars, and the djemb?--and modern down-tempo electronic programming that wouldn't be out of place at the Buddha-Bar or any other hip club in Paris or New York. Amidst this gentle and hypnotic fusion, Bagayogo maintains the griot tradition of teaching and politics, singing about such issues as racial tolerance, regional pride amidst the globalization of culture, and drug abuse among Mali's youth. Bagayogo presents his ideas in an evenly modulated midrange voice with ethereal-sounding female backup singers who answer and reaffirm many of his lyrics with haunting effectiveness. All in all, this seductively laid-back album is another chapter in the ongoing tradition of great Malian music.