This album is what really made Baaba Maal's name in the UK. It was not his first, but the one that got him noticed by those of us who enjoy african music but don't know too much about it.
Island records obviously invested a lot in this success, judging by the huge numbers of additional musicians involved and the very high production values. It was produced by Simon Emmerson (of Afro Celt fame) and it could be argued that Baaba Maal has compromised his music to make it more acceptable to western tastes. I prefer to see it as making full use of all the technology and instruments available. There are some celtic influences, a smigeon of hip hip (the French variety), and some jazzy touches.
In my opinion, there are no duff tracks on this album, and three which can stand up against anyone else's best - Sidiki, Sama Duniya and Gorel. While I accept that the griot-influenced vocals might grate on some people initially, I reckon the music would grow on anyone.
The band contains one of the most ubiquitous of African musicians - Massamba Diop on talking drums, who seems to crop up as a guest on every other african CD, especially if Simon Emmerson is producing.
You may have heard Baaba Maal described as a genius, and may be aware that the Melvyn Bragg dedicated an entire Southbank Show to him several years ago, and may be wondering if all the hype is justified. If so, of all his albums this is the one to listen to see what all the fuss is about. (and if you ever get the chance, go and see him play live. It really is spectacular.)
on 2 June 2011
I nearly bought another CD of his, but read the reviews on Amazon to help make my final purchase choice - a good strategy. The reviews here helped me as did a live concert recently in Manchester. This man is a God to all Senegalese, and in concert, he spoke like a true man of the world with an immense capacity for compassion and love for his audience. The music is out of this world live, the music on this CD is outstanding. Track 2 and track 6 really get me going, I perform West african dance and play the music and this is one for my permanent collection.
on 29 July 2009
Having read a review of Baaba Maal at a live concert in London recently,I was curious to find out more. Accessed Amazon music to see what the opinion of others was.I found a few reviews which I based my purchase on.The review I read was spot on.Having never heard Baaba before this is the best of the two cd's I have bought.The other,Television is the latest,and is more of a mixed bag.Still good,especially if you have'nt heard Firin first.Firin is dated 1994 so was a fairly old recording.But it is great.
on 10 April 2010
I've been a Baaba Maal fan for many years. Strangely, I had never owned or heard this album before. That's now changed, and it's a superb addition to the collection, probably his best album. Such a range of sounds and influences. This is the album of his I'm listening to all the time now.