Orchestra Baobab - Made in Dakar
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Orchestra Baobab
Made in Dakar
World Circuit (www.worldcircuit.co.uk)

This 2007 release from Senegal's Orchestra Baobab comes a pretty fair stretch after their 2002 comeback, Specialist in All Styles. You can consider Made in Dakar a continuation of that comeback or a comeback all on its own. Either way, it's top notch. This band has vocal and instrumental chops even sharper than in their original heyday, with guitarist Barthelemy Attisso particularly spot on: check his perfect interplay with sax players Issa Cissoko and Thierno Koite and winding, slinky solos throughout. The West African/Latin connections are as strong as ever, both in the re-worked old songs and fresh compositions.

Baobab's five-strong vocal front line, including the perennially mighty Rudy Gomis and Medoune Diallo, deftly handles nuances of Cuban son, Congolese rumba, French chanson, Senegalese griot tradition and Lusafrican phrasing, with the musicians creating rhythms and melodies to match. The update of 1972's "Nijaay" oozes sweet melancholy, "Sibam" and "Ndeleng Ndeleng" gallop along with sturdy m'balax-style support and the concluding "Colette" is an irresistible smashup of jazz, ska and Latin pop that shows just how much range these vets possess. I'll spare you any further inadequate written descriptions. You'll have to listen and enjoy for yourself. The phrase "back and better than ever" may be well past overworked, but I can't think of a more appropriate way to describe Orchestra Baobab on this excellent release. - Tom Orr

CD available from cdroots

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CD available from cdroots


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