ARTIST: Idrissa Diop & Cheikh Tidiane Tall
TITLE: Diamonoye Tiopite
LABEL: Teranga Beat
REVIEW: This is the first release for Teranga Beat Records, a new label focusing on the golden era (late 60s to mid 80s) in Senegal and other nearby West African countries, and it’s a gem. Singer Idrissa Diop is best known for his work with the band Sahel, which was led by organist/guitarist Cheick Tidiane Tall; Sahel is widely credited as the pioneer of what we now call mbalax, the fusion of Latin rhythms with traditional sabar drumming. This release includes tracks from Diop’s 1969 solo debut (tracks 1-3), from Sahel’s seminal 1975 album Bamba (4-7), from the 1975 side-project called the Tall/Diop Orchestre (8-9), and from a never-released 1976 Sahel session (10-12); all four source recordings include excellent tracks. The 1969 material is pretty much straight salsa Senegalaise in the style of Orchestra Baobab and so are the best tracks from Bamba (including track 7, an eye-opening interpretation of Larry Harlow’s salsa standard). With the Tall/Diop side-project, they’re moving further away from salsa – track 9 laces a traditional song with organ-driven psychedelia. And the unreleased material is a total revelation – fully formed mbalax from 1976. Great stuff here.
TOP TRACKS: 2 5 7 9 11ALSO RECOMMENDED: 1 3 4 10