Orchestra Baobab: Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng review – classy return for Afro-Cuban stars

(World Circuit)

Orchestra Baobab have enjoyed an extraordinary career. In the 1970s they shook up the music scene in Senegal with their unique, lilting blend of traditional African influences and Afro-Cuban dance styles. Then they broke up for 16 years, before returning in 2001 to be hailed as cult heroes. This is only the third new studio album they have released since then, and their first in a decade, following a series of personnel changes. Guitarist Barthélemy Attisso has left to concentrate on law (once again), and the lineup now includes their first kora player, Abdoulaye Cissoko. But they sound fresh and distinctive as ever, as the opening track, Foulo, proves with its gently rhythmic blend of percussion, brass and male voices. Elsewhere, they interrupt the laid-back dance songs for a sturdy treatment of the Manding classic, Mariama, with powerful vocals from Balla Sidibé. A charming and classy return.

Contributor

Robin Denselow

The GuardianTramp

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