Mamadou Ly

Mandinka Drum Master

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If ever there was a doubt that native African drumming was awe inspiring, the Village Pulse label has done their best to put it to rest, though releases like Mamadou Ly's Mandinka Drum Master. Mamadou Ly is a drummer from Senegal that worked with the National Ballet for 25 years, with his compositions occasionally becoming traditional works. As of this recording, he was nearly 60 years old, but still had enough speed on his sabaro to shock any listener. The complexity that arises with interlocking and opposing rhythms between three drums is amazing. There are dance rhythms, such as the "Bougarabou" and "Lenjen on the Album," as well as ritualistic pieces to accompany initiation rites, female circumcisions, and weddings. In all truth, it is difficult to express the sounds in words, and is only possible to say "go find the album and listen to it" to get the full message across. One extra on the album, a Mandinka greeting, illustrates the way in which all of life for the Mandinka involves rhythms and interlocking natures.

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