[4 June 2012]
Hadn’t listened to this band before, though I knew the core had formed in a Guinean refugee camp and been befamed by documentary filmmakers from the US. Later the musicians went home to Freetown in postwar Sierra Leone and picked up more members. International tours followed. Success! Triumph! This is the third album. Classic Mid- and West-African guitar chime, done well, is always brilliant, and they marry it with gumbe percussion—an intricate and cacophonous mass of noise, seed of the Caribbean goombay—with reggae, with more specific local styles, and with message-lyrics. “This song is all about having patience, in everything you do in this world,” enunciates the lead singer carefully as the rest of the band strains at the leash before bolting into the fast dance number “Man Muyu”. The guitar rings, the instruments whip together in a tight revolving knot, and high life hybrids metastasize, metastasize, metastasize, capable of absorbing whatever they come across.