Ousmane Diallo, better known as Ouza, seems to have been a controversial figure in the Senegalese music scene. I first heard about him in the context in a discussion between some Senegalese about the use of the tama talking drum. According to Ouza, they said, the excessive use of the tama was clouding, or even ruining, the lyrical content of the Senegalese songs.
Having seen a few Senegalese groups overdoing it in this area, I could see where this criticism was coming from, so my interest was aroused.
Born in 1947, Ouza spent several years in Côte D'Ivoire studying and performing with traditional music groups and ballets, before returning to Senegal and playing a major role in Senegalese culture; and not just in modern music (he also was a leader of the Orchestre National du Senegal), but also traditional music and ballet. He is seen as an influential innovator and as a coach of talented singers. On his official site you can find a rather uninformative biography.
Although he is said to have founded his first group in 1965, it took him ten years to release his first album (in 1975* - see this discography, which is slightly more complete than this one). This album is credited to Ouza et ses Ouzettes, and I gather that this was one of the female vocal groups which Ouza coached. Unlike the "4 Femmes dans le vent" album they are not very present in these tracks. I can only hear some female voices in the very distant background in a few of the tracks. Maybe this is due to a technical error, but I have my doubts....
I really like the ballads on this lp, and especially "Dollar", "Dunia" and the title track "Lat Dior". These are the tracks that make this album special.
Jambaar JM 5003
*this re-release is from 1980.
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