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cd cover If you liked Africando's previous album of Afro-Cuban pop, Mandali, you will surely find this release even more appealing. It has the infectious enthusiasm and mutually beneficial interaction between musicians and audience of an unmistakably successful live recording of a concert in Paris last summer. What is surprising is that while most of the excellent vocalists are familiar from Mandali, with one welcome newcomer, Bailly Spinto from the Côte d'Ivoire, the accompanying musicians are completely different from those featured in the previous recording, yet every bit as talented.

The main key to the continuity is the leadership of Boncana Maïga, the Cuban-trained musical maestro, with roots in several West African countries, responsible for the arrangements and musical direction. Only 3 tracks are repeated from Mandali, but are quite different and thankfully just as good, if not even better, because of the sparkling live performances. As Maïga explains in the opening track of the second disc, Africando is a combination of Africa and the Wolof phrase "ando," meaning "advancing together." How appropriate, and how welcome, since advances on most other African fronts these days seem regrettably rare. But the band remains upbeat and in the final track, "Doni, Doni," they sing, inter alia, "little by little, democracy!" It's political advocacy to a wickedly seductive beat, an irresistible combination, and something we can all usefully learn from Africa! - William Bain

CD and audio samples available at cdRoots

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