Orchestra Baobab: Pape Ndiaye
Made in Dakar (Nonesuch 433788)
Balla Sidibe (vocals, timbales, drums), Rudy Gomis (vocals, maracas, clave), Ndiouga Dieng (vocals, congas), Medoune Diallo (vocals), Assane Mboup (vocals), Barthélemy Attisso (lead guitar, chef d’orchestre), Latfi Benjeloun (rhythm guitar), Issa Cissoko (tenor sax), Thierno Koite (alto sax), Charlie Ndiaye (bass), Mountaga Koite (congas, drums), Ibou Kanate (trumpet), Jesus ‘Aguaje’ Ramos (trombone), Thione Mbaye (sabar drums).
Composed by Laye Mboup, adapted by Assane Mboup, arranged by Barthelemy Attisso.
Recorded: Dakar, no date given (CD released in 2008)
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Fans unfamiliar with the odd twists and turns in the history of Afro-pop might be surprised by the Cuban flavor in this Senegalese band. But there is a long history of Latin idioms permeating African music styles, much of it stemming from the popularity of Franco and other Congolese musicians who developed a pseudo-rumba sound that swept the continent. Orchestra Baobab has long been renowned for its mastery of this style, which manages to combine a rhythmic fervor with a languid sensuality. This music, a modern reworking of an old griot song, is like a drowsier salsa, mesmerizing yet also relaxing. This ensemble has enjoyed a wide following since the 1970s, but disbanded for a period. Yet on this opening track from their new Nonesuch release, they reassert their mastery of a style that has lost none of its appeal with the passing decades.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia