May 13, 2011

Sorry Bamba | Volume One 1970-1979

ARTIST:  Sorry Bamba
TITLE:  Volume One 1970-1979
LABEL:  Thrill Jockey
REVIEW:  Here’s another addition to the catalog of essential recordings from the golden age of West African music.  And it comes from an unlikely source, Chicago indie label Thrill Jockey, home to the wonderful American-Kenyan benga-rock band Extra Golden whose guitarists Alex Minoff and Ian Eagleson assembled this collection with Sorry Bamba’s help.  Bamba was chef d’orchestre (sounds much cooler than bandleader, doesn’t it?), singer, trumpeter and flautist for the Kanaga Orchestra, one of the great state-sponsored bands of Mali in the post-colonial 60’s and 70’s.  Like bands such as Guinea’s Bembeya Jazz, Senegal’s Orchestra Baobab and Mali’s Super Rail Band, Kanaga (also known as the Regional Orchestra of Mopti and as Bani Jazz) developed a whole new West African sound by drawing on traditional roots, the Cuban styles that were all the rage back then, and Western influences of funk and psychedelic rock.  Bamba and Kanaga are much less known than the aforementioned groups (I think this is their first reissue), but their music is no less compelling.  If you’re at all interested in African popular music, this album is really worth your time.  Great stuff.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
TOP TRACKS:    2    4    7
ALSO RECOMMENDED:   1    3    5    6    8    10

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