Bembeya Jazz / Bembeya Jazz National

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Bembeya Jazz National, one of the oldest and greatest of all Sahelian bands, was the inspiration for more famous groups (Les Ambassadeurs among them). Alas, none of their superb music from the '70s is currently available, but the '80s material is almost as good. Like any working band they keep up with the trends (at times too much so). But they're still one of the freshest of all Sahelian bands despite the commercial pressures that have so damaged Youssou N'dour and other big names. Instead of hunting transitory international glory, they've stuck to their glorious mix of swooping Afro-funk and hot Afro-Cuban, sparked by the otherworldly guitar of Sekou "Diamond Fingers" Diabate.