[13 February 2012]
Teranga Beat is a new label and its first two releases are winners. One of them is Senegalese, a great Idrissa Diop retrospective. The second one, Halleli N’dakarou, was recorded in Senegal as well, but the band comes from The Gambia, a tiny river-shaped coastal nation that wiggles for a short distance inside Senegal’s larger mass. Musically the country punches above its weight. Guelewar’s Ifang Bondi is Gambian, and so is Juldeh Camara the ritti player from the Soul Science album. Halleli N’dakarou is something else completely, a weird compulsive dense mass of local dance-percussion and singing with rock-groove 1970s guitar fuzzed through a Moog synthesiser until the whole thing becomes a sort of inflamed, fraying bleed with the dance beat pulsing through and the singers in the background, hiding inside this felty ball like living secrets, as if they thought they were Easter Eggs that deserved finding. The album was recorded live in 1982 as the band was preparing to dissolve. Wonder what its other albums sound like.