African Salsa

Various Artists

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African Salsa Review

by Mark Romano

Stern's Africa/Earthworks has put together another hot compilation on this album of 1990's Senegalese-Latin grooves. The salsa-mbalax from this part of Africa is a potent new concoction that doesn't just cover Cuban classics. It injects new energy into both genres while doing justice to each. The music here is hardcore dancefloor material that shows the continual musical interplay between old and new giving birth to new styles and genres. The legendary Star Band Du Miami, named after the famed club in Dakar, formed in 1958 and has since spread its musical heritage through many channels. Its lineage is evident from the high caliber of music on this album. Pape Fall, a onetime singer for the group, sings on half of the 14 tracks. His voice has lots of grit and soul along with a lilting smokiness. He formed his own group called African Salsa in 1995. It's a group that will undoubtedly produce lots of heat for dancefloors the world over. The other group that has considerable noise in Senegalese salsa circles is Super Crayor De Dakar. Their take on mbalax-Cuban music is also filled with volcanic lava that spills on to dancefloors in waves. Also included here is DJ Baron Lopez's super-extended remix of Africando's "Yaye Boy" featuring the late Pape Seck on vocals. Until its release on this album, this classic Africando track was hard to come by. The rich weave represented here mixes classic Cuban son montuno, mbalax, reggae, and a touch of Trinidadian pan drum into an addictive tapestry of sound in movement. The percussive pulse of 1990's Senegalese salsa-mbalax is very strong. An exceptional collection of music from Senegal accompanied by good liner notes.

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