Ginger Baker / Ginger Baker's African Force

Palanquin's Pole

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Those thunderous drums we hear in the beginning of this set could only come from one drummer -- Ginger Baker -- and despite the name of the band, it is Baker who is its backbone. Recorded live in 1987 in Bremen, Germany, Baker, Thomas Akuru Dyani, Kwaku A. Mensa, Ansoumana Bangoura, and Ampofo Acquah used their percussive stature to completely bowl over a throng at the Schaumburg Festival. All five men play percussion or drums, two sing, and one occasionally plays guitar. For over 47 minutes they travel into the hypnotic heart of the drum. The drum exists here not only as a means to make music, but also as a means to impart history, mystery, magic, and communication. Whether the polyrhythms begin as simple 4/4 patterns and wind out immeasurably, snaking their way through subsets of counter balanced time, or set out from the beginning to suspend all notions of time and its place in the space is of no consequence; this quintet plays only to hear, and hears only to speak in that intimate language that utters itself as culture. This is a drum record like none other in existence. It is a mystical record that is rooted in the bone buried in the earth, and Baker's assemblage understands all too well, that the drum is the heartbeat of the universe. Awesome.

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