The Orchestra Baobab’s tribute to Ndiouga Dieng is out now on World Circuit Records. This album revolutionizes the music game in so many ways. It is traditional but excitingly fresh and new at the same time. The band who formed nearly 50 years ago has captivated us with their tropical sounds and catchy melodies. This new album is by far one of the coolest releases of the year. It takes you straight to the tropics.
The album opens with the song “Foulu” which is a soft opener. Mixing traditional music and adding a bit of spice with the instrumentals. Something cool about this album is that it flows so beautifully well. Every song on the album compliments the other so well. It takes you back to those amazing records you forget have a start and end. “Fayinkounko” is the second song. It picks a tempo a bit. This song really shows the Cuban infused sounds of the album. What I love about albums like this one is that they do such a great job balancing songs with great lyrical content and songs where the instruments are more dominate. In songs that follow like “Natalia,” “Magnokouto,” “Mariama”, “Woulinewa” the instrumentals have take over. The wind instruments in “Magnokouto” are breathtaking and the string instruments like the opening guitar in “Mariam” are delicate but super groovy. “Sey” which is the seventh song of the record goes back to that great traditional lyrical content the band is known for. “Caravana” is another beautiful song in this album- that really focuses on those Cuban undertones. The song has a sensual slow jazzy feel to it. It sounds very intimate. “Douga” puts the album back into pace, but it still sounds like a very intimate tune. The album finishes off with a bang- merging the concept of strong lyrical content and beautiful instrumentals. The string work on this song is exquisite and the lyrics are super traditional African dialect, but one can tell they are in good balance with each other.
This African pop group has really great records over the years, and this album is great way to jump back in and add to the collection. It is new, groovy, beautifully arranged, and carries those traditional tones. It is an album worth checking out!