October 30, 2018
Baba Commandant & The Mandingo Band | Sira Ba Kele
TITLE: Sira Ba Kele
LABEL: Sublime Frequencies
The slinky, funky push-pull rhythms of West Africa’s Wassoulou region drive a host of distinctive musical genres: trance-like donso hunters’ music, the sound of Oumou Sangare and the other “Wassoulou songbirds,” Moussa Doumbia’s Afro-funk, Zani Diabate & Super Djata Band’s guitar jams, and Issa Bagayogo’s Afro-EDM. Add to that distinguished list Baba Commandant & The Mandingo Band from Burkina Faso. Their stellar 2015 debut Juguya gave us a low-fi taste of what this band can do; their second brings it home. The quintet features a mix of traditional and modern instruments: donso ngoni (hunter’s harp) and balafon alongside guitar, bass and drum kit, making this 21st century West African folk-rock with strong emphasis on the “rock.” Start with track 5, a radical reinterpretation of Moussa Doumbia’s classic “Keleya” with jaw-dropping guitar work by Issouf Diabate; he sounds like a downtown New York version of Zani Diabate. The press release compares the band to some of Mali’s greats: Super Djata, Kanaga De Mopti, Les Ambassadeurs and the Rail Band. For once this ain’t hype, it’s truth. Probably the best new release I’ve heard this year.
TOP TRACKS: 1 2 3 4 5 6
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