November 27, 2011

Guelewar | Halleli N'Dakarou

ARTIST:  Guelewar 
TITLE:  Halleli N’Dakarou 
LABEL:  Teranga Beat 
REVIEW:  Release number two from Teranga Beat Records is a 1982 live set that is the final recording of the Guelewar Band of Banjul, Gambia. Guelewar has been anthologized on a few Senegalese compilations (Gambia shares a three-sided border with Senegal); this is their first full-length release in the USA and Europe, and listeners are in for a treat.  Unlike most of the other Senegambian bands of their era, Guelewar was little-influenced by salsa and Cuban rhythms.  Their music is built on a traditional base and informed by American funk and psychedelic rock, with strong guitar and saxophone playing.  Uniquely, they feature a mini-Moog synthesizer – remember, this is in an era when most West African bands can’t afford their own guitars, amps or drum kits.  The ten tracks here are spacious jams (each between six and ten minutes long), giving all twelve band members plenty of opportunity to shine.  Add this one to the growing catalog of psychedelic music from Africa – it’s one of the best examples that I’ve heard. 
TOP TRACKS:    1    2    5    7  
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    4    8    10

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