This is Africando's compelling debut album that united three top Senegalese singers with the cream of New York salsa musicians. Originally conceived by the Senegalese producer, Ibrahima Sylla and arranged by the expert Malian flautist, Boncana Maiga, who had studied music in Cuba for eight years, Africando accentuates the Cuban-Puerto Rican-Dominican bass note in the myriad forms of modern African music and also breathes new life into contemporary salsa by avoiding the limp commercial brand prevalent at the time. They strike deep into the heart of classic Cuban-Latin music revealing the jewel in all its brilliance with extraordinary style and steam. Boncana Maiga's arrangements gleam with a truly magical power that are for dancers the world over. In addition, the veteran crew represents centuries of musical experience of the first order. Pape Seck, whose raspy gritty voice is heard on "Lakh Bi" and "Mathiaky," sang for the legendary Senegalese groups Star Band, Star Band Number One and Orchestre Baobab. Medoune Diallo, another of the Senegalese lead singers, also sang with the apotheosized Orchestre Baobab. Ronnie Baro, heard on the track "Trovador" was former leader singer with the exceptional Orquesta Broadway, the epitome of New York City charanga groups, and also worked with Charanga 76, Jose Fajardo, Charanga America and Tipica Ideal. As for the fiery backing brass, pumping percussion, piano and strings there are other numerous connections with Latin groups in New York City, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. With decades of continual cross-cultural connection between Africa and the Caribbean basin and back again to the homeland, Africando evolved as a unique phenomena that reinforced the quality of both African and Latin styles. Boncana Maiga's dexterous touch and sensitive ear and the musicians' empathetic depth made this magic telepathy happen. The result is an exceptional first album that makes classic music classic again with a twist. Highly recommended as the first of their albums to get.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Romano