This nicely produced album presents the Baoule people, a farming folk who are also reknown for their arts and musics. The tracks were recorded in the center region of the Ivory Coast between Liberia and Ghana. This is not one of these field recordings where the material has been abruptly chopped up into little portions. Pieces start up, trail off, and then start back up again, all very naturally. The musicians and singers sometimes seem to wander off and then come back closer to the microphone. Instruments include large gourd rattles that are shaken vigorously and with solidly captivating rhythms, an "awe" or horn made out of an antelope horn, and the vivid sound of a whip cracking against a piece of hide. One long recording, subdivided into seven different tracks and continued over both sides, is excerpted from what was originally an initiation ritual and features a medium-sized orchestra sporting several different kinds of drums, gourds, and rattles. This album is enjoyable to listen to, although kind of scattered. It is definitely not something for a listener who wants a focused recital of music, but will thrill anyone wishing to radically change the atmosphere of their listening environment. As is typical with this label, there is a slick booklet inside with memorable black-and-white photography.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne