While production standards on this latest offering are very high, I felt that these versions fell short of the scratchy perfection of earlier ones. Cabral, Ndéleng Ndéleng and Sibam are all available on African Classics (aka Classic Titles). Cabral, in particular, misses the lazy elegance of the version from way back when - this one has an altered guitar intro and a faster beat. Having said that, Nijaay is great and I only give this album four stars rather than five because of the outstanding quality of Orchestra Baobab's other work.
If you've heard them before I don't need to explain why. If you haven't, I can't. Orchestra Baobab is an experience one has to take on ones own. You would think that a bunch of such armature but talented musicians would not be able to go beyond the boundaries of their own town. But here comes the exception, and what an exception it is. Their music is so intoxicating that `professionalism' becomes a dirty word. If you also saw them live you would know what I mean. The first two recordings made them world famous. Now comes the third recording of a completely new material, and with much more complex arrangement. Barthelemy Attisso's, who is my favourite member of the band, guitar playing is more confident, experiments more and the whole ensemble follows suite. Both Sax take centre stage, and the rest of the group make this recording number one. Looking forward to number four.
I'm with the Songlines review, this album, amazingly considering these guys are getting on a bit, outdoes 'Specialists in All Styles' (an excellent album in its own right) for its fluidity, musical craftsmanship and overall exuberance. It's so great to hear the sheer vitality of the tracks and arrangements on this, if you ever need to cheer yourself up you need go no further than to chuck this baby in the CD player and mix yourself a mohito (that's enough cliches, Ed.)