Boni Gnahoré and the Attungblan Chorus
This debut CD from Côte d'Ivoire by the master-drummer Boni Gnahoré spans eight tracks of inspired and groovy drum-driven dance music. Gnahoré's style is a funky mix, owing much to the Afrobeat of Fela Kuti and to jazz. His compositions are based upon traditional melodies, using a three-piece drum ensemble as a foundation. It's quite a retro recording in many ways, a blast from the past sounding very much as if it's from the 1970s and flavor of the month of late in African music. The arrangements are uncluttered, with the instrumentation pared down to just a rhythm section and organ, with solos supplied by a sax. One track features a Bété flute, and on the recording there are occasional hints of the legendary Ivorien musician Ernesto Djedje, himself of the Bété tribe. The drum ensemble are first rate, and this CD is worth purchasing just for their musicianship. Two tracks are worth mentioning: the opening number "Kpako solo," with its cool and infectious Afrobeat style; and "Magnan," a long track with a bit of everything - lovely drum, bass and organ solos all over a solid drum pattern. Ivorien pop music of this caliber is uncommon, and this recording is a stand-out release which augurs well for the future. - Graeme Counsel
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