Saf Percussions

Alliance

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A mix of percussionists from France and Burkina Faso offer a tour through West African percussion, overlaid with the ngoni, an ancestor to the banjo, the xylophone-like balafon, and call-and-response vocals on Alliance. While it's an academic exercise to a point, there's also a lot of joy to be had from this, although you have to get past the outwardly scholarly aspect to find it. In the past Saf Percussions have been very much a live band, performing at festivals, with an important visual element that's obviously absent on disc. That they've taken pains to bring an authenticity to their sound is apparent, and there's no denying that everyone involved can play superbly. But while it becomes a little more enjoyable with each listen, the basis of each of the nine cuts in Manding rhythms does make it important scholastically.

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