Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: World Music, Pop, Latin Music
For people who know their Senegalese music, Orchestra Baobab's Pirates Choice is the Holy Grail. By the time this music was recorded to four-track in 1982, the immensely popular band had been playing nightly for years ... more »
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For people who know their Senegalese music, Orchestra Baobab's Pirates Choice is the Holy Grail. By the time this music was recorded to four-track in 1982, the immensely popular band had been playing nightly for years at a Dakar club called Baobab. But legendary status in Senegal didn't help the musicians get wider attention--the album wasn't released in Europe until 1987, and it only now comes to the U.S. for the first time. Latin music was popular in Dakar, a port city, and the band mixed various strains of Latin music with different African music styles to create uniformly stunning results not all that different from Afro-Cuban music. The French vocals are lovely, and the powerful mix of African and Latin percussion is undeniable--but keep a particular ear out for guitarist Barthelemy Attisso, whose tasteful leads float over the top. The original six-track album is hard to pass up, but this reissue contains a second disk with six unreleased songs from the same session, making this a must-have. --Tad Hendrickson
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One of the best albums ever
Moses Alexander | Alabama, USA | 10/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not usually given over to tossing superlatives about, but this has got to be one of the best albums ever. I've yet to find a weakness in it. It is an interesting mix and synthesis of styles: Afro-Cuban music, a variety of West African music, and of course jazz.This CD has some of the most inventive and cool guitar work I've ever heard on it. It is sly, playful, soulful and mellow. The saxophone lumbers and punctuates the music nicely. No one is showing off or going off, they are just making music. The vocals are amazing, particulary the ones in Wolof like "Werente Serigne" a song warning against getting involved in religious conflict. Even the driving songs have an unhuried mellow feel to them. It is this unique synthesis of cultures that makes this album transcend most people's concept of African music. Because it draws on so many sources (but in a completely original way) it somehow sounds familiar eventhough you've heard nothing like it.Originally this was just a one disc effort, but this reissue has six more cuts that didn't make the original record and they are just as great.To me this is how music should be, unhurried, talented, fun, yet deep and emotional. If you can capture all of those things, you've truly accomplished something and they surely have. Even more amazing is no overdubbing and no remixing. You are getting the straight cuts. Guitar, sax, bass, drums and vocals have never sounded so fresh."
reviews@411 | Piitsburgh, PA United States | 04/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Listen. I have never owned a car that did not have a copy of Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" in it. I now will keep a permanent copy of "Pirate's Choice" in my console as well. Two perfect albums for any mood, any time, any company.You have to let these songs play and give them time. Pay close attention to the guitar solos that kind of float above the rest of the band."
Classic Senegalese Pop
Barbara J. Chaplin | Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada | 03/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a reissue of a 1982 recording. It's been remastered, but don't expect the kind of sound quality you would get from a cd recorded at the same time in a Western country. Dakar's studios just weren't up to Western standards at the time. However, don't let this put you off the album: Yes,the sound is a bit rough, but it sounds natural, and is not unpleasant or annoying at all. The previous issue was just the first cd, plus variant takes of the first two tracks; this issue includes 6 tracks previously-unreleased on cd.
I like cd 1 more than cd 2, but both are very good. The music grows on you. It's relaxing and soothing, but it isn't 'easy listening' type music at all.
The song-writers have obviously been heavily influenced by Cuban music, which was the most popular foreign style in West Africa for decades. The songs are sung in Spanish and French (I know this because I could understand them), and in Wolof and Mandinka (so the liner notes inform me.) The lyrics are not included in the packaging, but a precis of each song's meaning in English is provided, as are a couple of essays.
The music really is wonderful, especially the guitar and sax solos. After becoming interested in African music, I have come to realize that our Western notions of just who the great popular musicians are is ridiculously Euro- and American-centric. We've all seen the lists of the greatest guitarists in the world, for example, - Eric Clapton topping the list - and I'm here to tell you that, really, it's some guy from West Africa or the Congo you've never heard of. Yeah, the sound quality is not there on a lot of this material, but listen to the playing, and the songs themselves, and you will come to wonder, as I have, why anyone bothers listening to the watered-down pap you usually hear on the radio. This cd is an amalgamation of Cuban and West African music, and what is that but the origins of our own popular music? If you like hip-hop, rock, jazz, or blues, for example, you are actually listening to African music. This cd is the real thing."