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Bamba Wassoulou Groove

Review by Tom Orr

The word Wassoulou might put you in mind of the folksy but popular form of female-dominated Malian music (named for its region of origin) that Oumou Sangare and others brought to the world in the early Ď90s. But the all-guy Bamba Wassoulou Groove, formed in Bamako in 2013, salutes their countryís musical roots in a more electrified manner. When early post-independence outfits like the Super Rail Band began bringing as many funk and rock influences as traditional twang to their plugged-in guitars, a new sound was born that swelled national pride and filled dance floors.

Listen "Bina" (excerpt)

Bamba Wassoulou Groove came together at the behest of Super Djata Band percussionist Bamba Dembele, and the guitar work of the latter groupís Zani Diabate, one of Africaís finest axe men, proved to be a sizable influence on the newcomers. BWGís triple guitar attack force creates a soaring wall of sound throughout Dankele, and itís a mighty one. I donít know which of the three credited guitarists is responsible for the consistently sharp leads and soloing (perhaps they spread them around), but be prepared to hear West African guitar playing at its finest. True to the modernization that Malian popular music has undergone, funk, rock and even reggae underpinnings grace drum and bass lockups that are likewise a fruitful meeting of Mali and beyond. While the lead vocals are sufficiently strong, for the most part this is a rollicking good guitar album that earns its stripes through the deft and tasty skills of those working the six-stringers. On track after track, they dazzle. ĖTom Orr

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