Baaba Maal

The Best of the Early Years

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A collection of songs from the first three albums in the career of the Senegalese star Baaba Maal. Essentially what's presented here are tracks from Wango, Baayo, and Lam Toro: the days with his Dande Lenol group. The music lays the foundations for his later work, in his vocal style and the accompaniment ideas. It's these songs that formed the basis for Maal's ascent to stardom, as he showed off the new end of the worldbeat movement in the Paris-Dakar connection. His nasal vocals formed a counterpoint to the ever-present bass, and the mix of electronic and traditional instruments would be heavily capitalized upon in future years. With someone of Maal's stature and talent, the first recommendation would of course be to pick up the three albums that this compilation is culled from, so as to get the album tracks as well as the singles. For an introduction into the early years of his sound though, this single album goes a long way. Pick it up as a replacement for the first half of Maal's catalog on a budget.

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