Africando

Gombo Salsa

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

On Gombo Salsa, Africando moves into even higher and hotter musical territory. The band continues to polish its radiant mixture of classic mambos, sones, boleros, and cha-chas. However, on this album listeners do not hear the voice of Pape Seck. He died unexpectedly in 1995 before the release of their second album. His raspy, gritty voice will never be forgotten by all music lovers the world over. His phrasing and timing, combined with an earthy, sensual feel, place him among the immortals. With his irreplaceable loss, Africando decided to employ other great soneros from Africa and Cuba. The result is the strong vocal front line of Medoune Diallo, Nicholas Menheim, and Ronnie Baro. Bolstering this lineup is the venerable veteran Gnonnas Pedro from Benin, who assures listeners that in the music lies the truth. He delivers serious steam and movement on a new twist on one of his compositions, "Musica en Verite." Ronnie Baro's tribute to Colombia on "Colombia, Mi Corazon" is one heck of track that pays homage to Cumbia and then kicks full-tilt into the spirit of the capital of Colombian salsa, Cali. He also sings on the powerful track "Apolo," the song that kicks off with thunder their Africando Live video. "Dagamasi," sung by sonero Gnonnas Pedro; "Grog Moin," a fine, smooth cha-cha by Tabou Combo's Shoubou; and the appearance of the great Congolese legend Tabu Ley Rochereau make this album an instant classic. Through Ibrahim Sylla and Boncana Maiga's artistry, this effort is another jewel in Africando's crown. The simplicity, style, and passionate musicality present here put the group in a class of its own. Highly recommended.

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