I would like to start this week with a dose of high energy from Senegal. Although I have had this album by Orchestre Gorom for years, it is only over the last ten to five years that I have come to fully appreciate the content of it. I stress the word 'content' because the splendid cover had caught my eye straight away, and perhaps was what motivated me to buy the record in the first place.
It started when I heard the cd "Gainde" in the World Network series by Youssou N'dour and (mainly) Yandé Codou Sène. I immediately recognised that incredibly fierce voice from a documentary I had once seen on French TV5. I am sure I must have this documentary somewhere; as soon as I have recovered it I will post it.
Listening to her contribution on "Gainde" was the key to the lp by Orchestre Gorom. Although her direct influence is limited to only two songs it 'opened up' the others as well. Of these two songs, by the way, one can be found on both albums, although the name is slightly different ("Siyare Na La" with Gorom and "Siare Naala Ndigal Faal" on Gainde).
It is a pity the writer of the sleeve notes got carried away a bit and attributed all the songs to Mrs. Sène. I have a nasty suspicion this exaggeration may be politically motivated. Yandé Codou is a representative of the Serer culture, a Senegalese ethnicity to which belonged President Léopold Sédar Senghor. A (more recent) documentary (of which this is an excerpt) even refers to her as "The Griot of Senghor".
Looking back on it now, I think Khar Mbaye Madiaga should get at least similar credit for her influence on this record. She also contributed two songs, and has also left a severe impression on Senegalese music and culture. Judging by this article I guess she must be considered to be a guardian of Senegalese tradition (another interview with this remarkable grande dame can be found here).
But don't get me wrong: the lp and Orchestre Gorom have stood the test of time, and for that reason alone deserve credit.
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