Kanda Bongo Man


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Balobi is an album of high-energy, joyous soukous from the perennial favorite Kanda Bongo Man, now sporting American black fashion no less. Here, he takes on another round of his updated version of the standard form, with inflections from around the world of music tossed in. Most noticeably, there's a Caribbean sound in this album, with the opening track, "Ayi Man," sounding surprisingly like Arrow from Martinique. The title track follows, with a slight Louisianan-South African mix of accordion in the background. As the album progresses, one notices a touch of reggae here and there, especially in "Louange." The album progresses further with a barrage of light soukous guitar work, alternating between lilting and loping rhythms, always with Kanda Bongo Man's vocals fitting in between the choruses and over the top of the instrumental backing. This album is relatively standard as far as Bongo's albums go, with the usual blend of soukous in large part filling the 40-minute duration. Aside from that, however, it is an outstandingly happy album. While it may not be adventurous, it's quite enjoyable in its own safety. Look for a more comprehensive overview as a newcomer delving into soukous for the first time, but pick this one up if you're just looking for a short enjoyable listen.

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