on 29 January 2011
Baaba Maal - African Soul Revolutionary (Nascente)
Think of Senegalese music, and one of the first names you'll come up with is Baaba Maal. This timely release from Nascente highlights the early releases of Maal's career, combining on two discs, the Wango, Taara and Jombaajo albums, which were recorded in Paris with acclaimed producer Ibrahima Sylla, and were the first `hi-tech' recordings of his career.
In essence, they're an amalgamation of Maal's influences: the traditional Senegalese rhythms of his Mbalax and his Tukulor heritage collide head on with reggae and funk. Most of it's great. In truth, Wango is one of the finest albums of his career and more than justifies the purchase. Unfortunately, disc one is mostly the disappointing Jombaajo album (originally made up from outtakes from Wango and Taara). It's not a particularly memorable set, and the mix isn't too clever, but that's a small quibble, especially at the price they're asking (see Amazon).
If you've yet to discover Baaba Maal's early career, then African Soul Revolutionary is a great place to start. 8/10.