Album of the Week, 9/25: Orchestra Baobab ~ Pirates Choice

orchestra baobab - pirates choice For people who know their Senegalese music, Orchestra Baobab's Pirates Choice is the Holy Grail. By the time this music was recorded to four-track in 1982, the immensely popular band had been playing nightly for years at a Dakar club called Baobab. But legendary status in Senegal didn't help the musicians get wider attention - the album wasn't released in Europe until 1987, and it only now comes to the U.S. for the first time (2001).
Latin music was popular in Dakar, a port city, and the band mixed various strains of Latin music with different African music styles to create uniformly stunning results not all that different from Afro-Cuban music. The French vocals are lovely, and the powerful mix of African and Latin percussion is undeniable--but keep a particular ear out for guitarist Barthelemy Attisso, whose tasteful leads float over the top.
The original six-track album is hard to pass up, but this reissue contains a second disk with six unreleased songs from the same session, making this a must-have. --Tad Hendrickson
Pairs well with sangria. -- DT

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