Saikouba Badjie

Bougarabou: Solo Drumming of Casamance

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Though the title says "Solo Drumming," these performances by Saikouba Badjie, member of the Jola people of Senegal's Casamance region, are as full of music as they are bursting with life. Badjie's female accompanists aim palm-frond clackers at his furious rhythms, clapping them in double or triple time contrary to his rhythms while adding shouts and other vocalizations. Bracelets of jangling banana-shaped bells on Badjie's wrists fill in what few empty spaces remain. A four-cut improvisation is the centerpiece of this pristinely recorded disc and works as a kind of history of bougarabou drumming. Saikouba begins with a single drum, then progresses to four, just as the popular style of the region escalated from a single drum to three and often four by the 1970s, possibly in response to the popularity of Cuban drumming styles. Hot stuff.

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