Singer and guitarist Daby Balde hails from the Cassamance region of Senegal, a place rich with a variety of ethnic and musical traditions. Interestingly, one of the strongest influences on his sound is the musical language of Portugal, the former colonial power in the region, and although Balde sings in Wolof, French, Mandinka, and Fula, the lilting rhythms of Portuguese music flow throughout Balde's playing. To non-African ears, his first album will likely sound alternately soothingly lovely and frustratingly static. Good examples of the former are the beautiful song "Douna" and the equally attractive "Mbadi," which features a ska-inflected saxophone solo courtesy of Christian Derneville. Also noteworthy is the beautiful fiddling of Wouter Vandenabeele on "Heli" and several other tracks. Less inspiring is the pretty but ultimately boring "Mamdiyel," and most frustrating of all are the painfully out of tune guitars on "Waino Blues" and "Sora." Daby Balde still has a few kinks to work out in his presentation, but he's off to an encouraging start.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson