Music Phenzes

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“Bene Bop”, the debut EP by West African Urban Groove Masters Fofoulah

fofoulah

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Siji Jabbar

Senegalese vocals, West African polyrhythms, dub basslines, sci-fi synths, raw guitars, jumpy melodies and intense grooves. Four of the six members of Fofoulah might be English, but the centre of gravity of the band’s debut EP is definitely in West Africa, courtesy of Biram Seck, whose searing vocals are reminiscent of Youssou N’Dour’s, and percussionist and master sabar drummer Kaw Secka (Gambia). At least that’s what it sounds like when you listen to the title track. Then 40 seconds into the next track, Fofoulah, and you learn not to rush to conclusions; the blend on instrumentation is much better balanced than you initially thought, especially once those synths make their entrance. (Don’t miss the trancey Soundspecies remix of Fofoulah that ends the EP.)

Fofoulah are a London based Sabar groove band, blending modern African praise song with urban groove, jazz and sabar drumming, and while their creative vision is clearly to keep things West African, careful listening reveals the musical personalities of individual members: you hear it as much in the slinky guitar work as you do in the now-spare now-jazzy sax lines. That the band’s members are from different cultures isn’t what makes Bene Bop (“One head”) a fitting title for the EP, rather it’s that Fofoulah’s sound is so cohesive, a tight blend of West African and European musical elements played by a band with ‘one head’.

Enjoy the stream, then cop the EP from iTunes. Our UK readers might also like to know that the EP’s release is currently being celebrated with a 10-date UK tour, including a launch party at Rich Mix in London on June 7th.

 

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This entry was posted on June 8, 2013 by in Electronic | Dance, New Releases.

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