The new year has started in a slow pace. In many parts of Europe snow has clogged up traffic. Even in the Netherlands, with its short distances, this had led to almost unprecedented delays and a general slowing down of public life.
This seems the right time to share this marvel of Senegalese music by N'Gewel International de Dakar with you.
I copied a cassette version of this album sometime in the 1980s, and was lucky enough to find the lp a few years later. I am telling you this, because I only realised I had not messed up when copying the cassette when I listened the record. I had been under the impression that I had erroneously turned up the volume after 2'36 in the first track. But this proved to be a 'feature' of this record (the same feature can be found in the track "Munu Mala Baayi" on the B-side, by the way).
Unfortunately I can't tell you very much about the group. I met percussionist Farba Sene when he performed with Alou Fané's group Fotemocoba. He appeared to have happy memories of this lp, because he glowed when he saw it in my collection. In the photo on the backside of the sleeve he is sitting at the back on the right.
I remember vaguely he told me about the group, and if I remember correctly mentioned that singer Papa Djibi Bâ had a history with either the Star Band or Star Number One (or maybe it was with both). I wish now I had at least written down what he had told me....
But as is often the case, the music speaks for itself. The lp contains three brilliant ballads, including a classic version "Yobalema", and three more uptempo tracks, including a crisp version the Ahijados song "Echale Salsita".
Play it on your mp3 player while you're stuck in the snow, and you'll never be cold....
After more than 23 years of making radio programmes I am seeking new ways to share my passion for African and Latin music. My intentions are 100% non-commercial.
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