Jan 9, 2012

Idrissa Diop & Cheikh Tidiane Tall- Diamonoye Tiopité

The newest of micro-labels rescuing early African popular music, from the "golden age" decades of the 60s and 70s, is Teranga Beat, and its first release is crucial. Diamonoye Tiopité chronicles a transformative period in Senegalese music, when mbalax arose from the shadows of the Afro-Cuban music that had dominated pop culture for many years.

The vehicle for illustrating this music history is the early career of Idrissa Diop and the band SAHEL. This CD collects three selections from Diop's first solo record, 1969's Diouba, including the immensely popular "Yaye Boye" that became essential for every Senegalese band to cover. Four songs from SAHEL's epochal Bamba recording sessions follow, including two songs that did not make the record. These tracks, taken from the rescued master tape, are the highlight of this wonderful Teranga debut. The Cuban rhythms are deep, the sound lush, and the horns bright. The organ solos and guitar of band leader Cheikh Tidiane Tall: Inspired. "Bamba" inserts sabar drums and traditional rhythms, thus innovating the first mbalax hit, with its catchy Touba Touba refrain. "Caridad" is one of the best African salsa recordings I have heard, funky and faithful at the same time.

The remaining five tracks collect two from an Orchestre Cheikh Tall & Idrissa Diop record, plus three previously unpublished recordings Idrissa Diop did with SAHEL in 1976. While the sound quality of these last tracks is more marginal, they do illustrate a completed transition to mbalax, with the tama talking drum taking its important role.

Diamonoye Tiopité is an Idrissa Diop revelation and education for me. I had only known the percussionist and singer from his later European recordings, which invariably leave me ambivalent with glossy, rock-oriented over-production. I'll post one of those albums in the next few days. This new CD of wonderfully fresh, old music gives me much more respect for Idrissa Diop and his important contribution to Senegalese music history.



Idrissa Diop [Idy] grew up in the Guelle Tappé neighborhood of Dakar and began playing music when he was just 8 years old; he formed his first band at 13 and recorded his first solo effort, ‘Dioubo’ [Peace] at 19, a subtle blend of traditional Senegalese and Latin music. Under the wing of the impresario Bass Goumbala the band Sahel was formed, a grouping of talented Senegalese musicians, which included Idy along with producer Moussa Diallo who together recorded the LP Bamba, in which Latin and Senegalese music were fused to create the first strains of Mbalax [pronounced balach], the sounds of which went on to inspire noted talents such as Youssou N’dour, Thione Seck and Omar Pene . Following this accomplishment, Idy went on to record the Orchestre Cheikh Tall & Idrissa Diope , played with the aforementioned Cheikh Tall, one of the most highly respected keys players in Senegal, and which was produced by Ibra Kasse in a further fusion of Mbalax and Latin. The first release on the Teranga Beat imprint is a compilation of tracks from the aforementioned LP's alongside an array of unreleased material recorded by the band Sahel.

Almost all the recordings are either previously unreleased, or published exclusively for the local market. This first release on Teranga Beat is a compilation of music created by one of Senegal's most important and highly respected artists, Idrissa Diop, highlighting his recordings made from 1969 thru 1976, including the last one's he made in Senegal before relocationg to France. Much of it with a great blend of Senegalese and Cuban elements! The rhythms are wonderful, spinning out in these hypnotic ways, and often encouraging a bit of descarga-like jamming from the musicians, especially on the longer tracks'.


01. Dioubo
02. Tioro Baye Thierno
03. Yaye Boye
04. Cintorita
05. Con El Sahel
06. Bamba
07. Caridad
08. Kaële
09. Massani Cissé
10. Fonkale Garape
11. Diamonoye Têye
12. Gueth

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