In "Serigne Saliou Mbacke," a percussion intro is slowly joined by a kora that seems to approach from a distance, a processional resolving into a lively, bouncy song whose intersecting rhythms can blindside the listener. Djanbutu Thiossane percussion and the uncertain eating habits of the traveling musician dominate "¿Qué Comemos?", a dense, Afro-Cuban style maelstrom of beats supporting a call-response rap about what's for lunch: if this is Andalusia, lunch must be gazpacho.
At the center of the recording, "Sey Lene" features Wafir Shekheldin's accordion in amiable competition with kora and lead vocal to lay a joyous mood over rolling, insistent percussion; a lively dance number. In "Nanganama," Shekheldin's virtuosity is again on display, his violin lending an Arabic mood, replete with fretless swoops, the concluding two minutes a percussion instrumental in a long, slow recessional fade, echoing the kora approach in "Serigne Saliou Mbacke." "Gan" is a loping, one-chord blues featuring a subtle yet fetching lute performance by the resourceful Shekheldin, and the recording winds up with the majestic devotional vocal and final percussion frenzy of "Laila Ilala." Ass, Mass & Pap is a well-rounded celebration of contemporary griot artistry. - Jim Foley
Audio © 1999 Nube Negra/Intuition, used by permission
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