May 05, 2009

Baobab

I'm afraid I am one of those cynics that gets Bueno Vista shivers with every release of yet another 'new' Baobab CD. I mean, like those soneros from Cuba, I really like the music they made when the world wasn't watching, but I can't get the same emotion from their reheated offerings.
I don't mean they shouldn't be 'reaping' what they have been 'sowing', - even if this was decades ago.

I have been trying to analyse the reasons for my allergy, and - although I am still working at it - I have an idea that it must have something to do with pretension. Or the absence of presumptuousness, the 'unpretentiousness', that appeals to me in those original recordings.
Take the tracks on this cassette, for example. Recorded almost casually, and no doubt 'live'. I am sure the musicians in these recordings had no idea they would be 'cult heroes' thirty years later.
How else can one croon a song like "Baobab" in hispano-, eh... something?

This cassette has it all: from the guitar of Attisso and the sax of Cissokho to the vocal range of Medoune Diallo (mature), Balla Sidibé & Rudy Gomis (harmonic) and teenager Thione Seck. My guess is that these recordings are from the late 1970s. Unlike the later "A Paris" recordings, the focus in this cassette is on versions of Senegalese traditionals.
And great versions they are too!

Bellot Records C 3805 (new link Febr. 22, 2012)

PS: If you want more information about the group, there are several biographies available (here's one).

24 comments:

reservatory said...

Yeah, I tried the new stuff, but apart from a YouTube video of Utrus Horas, I'll pass. But Baobab with Thione Seck - now we're talking! THANKS!

Anonymous said...

i believe the Buena Vista track is Mami Me Gusto... if you listen to the ARSENIO RODRIGUEZ version, you realize that BV copies *every* detail down to a little guiro riff mid-tune... Sounds like the guiro player approaches the mic, briefly, and then backs-away... Just for a little accent...

matt said...

Would have to agree with your view...this is what I wrote some time back:

Made in Dakar is wonderfully recorded and sounds great - Jerry Boys' production is always top notch. I'm also seeing them on tour in the UK in late November. But knowing the old recordings which I've come to love and adore its hard to get truly excited. I really wish I was there first time around.
(from http://matsuli.blogspot.com/2007/08/made-in-dakar.html)

gracenotes said...

Thanks for this – marvellous album. I’m reluctant to get into comparisons, so I’ll just say that this is priceless music. Having said that, there’s no getting away from the fact that the huge advances in modern recording processes, techniques and technologies seem mainly to have resulted in unlimited new ways to suck the life out of any kind of music.

george said...

Some times ago (may be two or three years ago) Baobab was here^ in Moscow. To be frank6 I didn't expect a lot, because this is, as they say, not the real "Baobab", but "produser's project". But it was may be the best concert in my life. First of all I admire of their sincerity - they sing all that very old songs like in the first time in their life (it's very rare quality, i can't listen p lot of old rockmen, who perform their old stuff but already forgot about its mutter and feeling). So I like modern baobab, and think now is a next and good chupter in their life.
George

WrldServ said...

@george: It may come as a surprise, but I agree with you: live they are very fresh, and certainly worth seeing!

Goofy said...

I have nothing against BVSC, especially their first releases. I have not heard the latest ones. That "phenomenon" meant that many great "world music" artists got a wider audience and to me that is good thing.
Gracenotes has good point with the modern technologies sucking life out music. I agree 100%.
Thanks for for Baobab!!

david said...

Thanks for this little gem--I am of the same mind re: the later Baobab releases. Even the much revered Pirates Choice pales in comparison to the brilliant 'Baobab in Wolof' (Dakar Sound). The Oriki music release 'Night at Club Baobab' and Bamba also are pretty great. As is this fine cassette!

NGONI said...

I am walking without touching the ground, this post, the one of Global Groove and the one of Likembe together, has surrounded to me of a way that I am rolling
all day and do not know where I am.

Maybe I'm in Senegal? or will effect the spring.

NGONI said...

I am really touched, I had forgotten.

Baobabab is never enough, the young fruit is a little more acidic, but mature is sweeter.

To test this outside discography to savor the mature fruit here .

And while the fruit drops on, you can entertain with this.

Does anyone know if Assane Mboup the singer in the video is the son of Laye Mboup?

Anonymous said...

THANKS A LOT!!!!!
This is the real thing!!!
And like Reservatory said: with Thione Seck......wow.

sacundim said...

Wrldserv, Matt: I agree too that the new albums are mixed, compared to the old ones. A couple of observations:

1. Despite the much higher quality of recording and production, that hardly ever makes things better, and often makes things worse. My favorite example: I like Cissokho's sax better with less reverb than in Made in Dakar.

2. The music in the new albums often sounds too rushed. Compare "Nijaay" in Made in Dakar with "N'Diaye" in N'Wolof (which is the same song but with the wrong title). It sounds a lot better when they take their sweet time to build it up slowly and gradually. (Having Laye M'Boup in the older version certainly helps too...)

On the other hand, I must say that I enjoy several of the new songs in Made in Dakar; "Ami ki ta bay" stands out in my mind.

avocado kid said...

old... new... any Baobab is good news to me! And yes, they rock out hard live in concert!

Anonymous said...

I understand the Buena Vista "shivers" but also know that a few folks who heard that did dig deeper. Same with Baobab fans who got hip to them via Pirate's Choice. I recall digging in cassette markets in Dakar a decade ago looking for their music, only to get back stateside and see it start to get reissued. Why/how I already knew about them I don't know. Anyhow, I have some more of their earlier things as well as recordings of the Star Band's first two albums if this blog has any interest in them

avocado kid said...

speaking of buena vista, one of my discoveries from that project was Manuel Galban - i love his tone and phrasing. I have his newer stuff and the Zafiros reissues... are their other old records with him on it?

thiol said...

Hi WrldServ,

Excellent!!!
I enjoy to listen another version of "Thioro Baye Samba".
I knew the version sung by Doudou Sow with Star Band de Dakar & instrumental version play by Thierno Kouaté(sax), only.

Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

@Thiol - I don't know either of those versions. I have 2 of Thierno's CDs but don't remember this song on them. But I have 3 other vesions - it's a standard :) - by Souleymane Faye (on the K& "Sogui" Audio Video AVP012), by the late Fode Kouyate, with guest vocal by Ismael Lo (on the CD "Anka Wili" Syllart 38123 - the title is "Diouma") and the adaptaton by Ouza on his "Lat Doir" LP (Jambaar - called "Dollar"). I had no idea until this evening that it came from Baobab. So that's interesting.

Thione sounds as if he's about twelve years old! (I also didn't know that he recorded "Sey" first with Baobab. I have two other versions - or maybe three - with him.)

Really nice stuff. 2 tracks were reissued by PAM on "Roots & fruit". All the tracks come from the Buur LPs, except "Kanoute", which is apparently from both Baobab 1 and 2. Glad to get it, though.

I've been trying to think where Babobab did another version of "Aduna Jarul Naawo" (which is also on "N'Wolof"), but can't remember. I don't think it's as good. There's too much bass on the other version, I think. This has always been one of my favourite Babobab tracks.

Al

thiol said...

@Al: in fact, you can find Doudou Sow vers* in the Star Band LP vol.2&Thierno Kouaté vers* in the LP "Dioubo" of Idy Diop.
In any case, i advice you to listen these versions, they're excellent too.
In your comment, you talk about Lat Dior LP...
You mean that you've this very rare album!?!
If so, i'm very interested!

WrldServ said...

@Anonymous #3 (May 7): I assume you are referring to the lp that contains the version of "Thioro Baye Samba" Thiol is referring to (IK 3021)? If you like I will post and the others from the IK-series later. But there are so many more wonderful records to post....

thiol said...

Hi WrldServ,

Well, it would be very nice if you could post Star Band vol.4(IK 3023)?If you've this one...
I search it for a long time.

Thank you.

WrldServ said...

@Thiol: okay. I'll post it as soon I've digitised it.

Anonymous said...

Ambiance and mood are something that can't be purchased, it just happens or it doesn't. One thing I strongly believe about the older recordings is that they were a snapshot of that reality, at that time. Trying to recreate them is usually unsuccessful. Even the original Guajiro music from Cuba sounds better than the BV recordings...

Lucky said...

before i have seen orchestra baobab a few years back, i only listened to the old recordings, from pirates choice backwards to the 70s, and - like you said - with every new release of OLD material, i get all flippery and ecstatic, and i LOVED THEM ALL!!

then i saw them in germany, didn't expect anything that blew me away, since they are old men, trying to get some new spring and going on tour for world circuit... y'know.

but the moment attiso started to play his guitar, sometimes looking shy over his glasses, i was completely hooked - it was one of those rare moments in my life, when every hair on my body stood up; and i started to dance, and dance and it was wonderful.

so i assume i would've got a heart-attach had i seen them back in the 70's in the club baobab - thank god that not! ;)

merci for sharing - i feel a slight prickly heat on my skin...

Anonymous said...

orchestra baobab rules! any chance of posting a fresh link to this one?

thanks for sharing,

bennie