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Best of Boston 2009


Made In Dakar | Nonesuch
By BANNING EYRE  |  June 17, 2008
4.0 4.0 Stars
This Dakar-based, pan-African band were the toast of West Africa in the ’70s. Their sound is rooted in salsa, but it works an astonishing range of African pop, all of it graced by powerful performances from the multi-lingual vocalists and melodious, trippy riffing from guitarist Barthélemy Attisso and saxophonist Issa Cissoko. After a 15-year hiatus, Baobab reunited in 2001, and this, the second release of their second act, finds them in superb form. These 11 tracks offer grooving, jammy takes on all-but-forgotten classics. “Beni Baraale” recalls a 1969 gig when Guinea’s Bembeya Jazz played Dakar with the Star Band (whose line-up included future Baobab members), and Attisso digs deep for the fleet, gravelly growl of the Bembeya guitar sound. On “Aline,” vocalist Balla Sidibe pays homage to the Congo pop that transformed urban African music in the ’50s and ’60s. Medoune Diallo (of Africando fame) reprises the tumbling, 12/8 Wolof roots pop of “Sibam.” “Ndéleng Ndéleng,” another Wolof romp, first sung by the great Thione Seck, gets a sterling remake, with Assane Mboup soaring through the griot-derived vocal. Youssou N’Dour also makes a delicious cameo on the 1972 Baobab hit “Nijaay.” Far more than a nostalgia act, Baobab are one of the freshest and most exuberant African bands on the road today.
Related: Griot act, Slideshow: The Slutcracker, Men from Mars(eille), More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, somerville Theatre,  More more >
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