Improvised music Company & Aiken Promotions Present Senegalese Afrobeat legends Orchestra Baobab live at Vicar Street, Saturday 18th October. Tickets €30 on sale Thurs Aug 7th @ 9am.
This West African institution established itself in the 70s as the leading outfit in Dakars thriving music scene, idolised for their languid grooves, sophisticated arrangements and soaring vocalists. Baobab were undisputed masters of the sound then sweeping West Africa, an intoxicating cocktail of the Cuban styles that had been popular in Dakar since the 40s, spliced onto the folk songs of the Mandinka, Mandiago, Diola and Wolof communities, all aspects of Senegals rich ethnic diversity. Led by the sublime guitarist Barthelemy Attisso, Baobabs live reputation spread throughout West Africa and the band went on to record over twenty LPs, including 1982s seminal Pirates Choice.
But it wasnt to last and by the mid 80s the group has folded, their leisurely style out of synch with the frenetic mbalax sound being popularised by the then young Wolof singer Youssou NDour. Members went their separate ways and when their erstwhile leader Atisso returned to his original profession as a lawyer in Togo, it seemed that a veil was drawn on one of Senegals greatest ever dance bands.
But redemption was at hand in 2002, and echoing his labels part in the careers of Cubas venerable soneros BVSC, World Circuits Nick Gold lured the bands original members into studio to record Specialist in All Styles, a critically garlanded gem that captured Baobab at their relaxed, grooving best. Five years on, the orchestra are back with ‘Made in Dakar’, an album that celebrates their roots in one of the world’s most dynamic musical cities, and another landmark in the career of this enduring group, gathering again around the baobab tree to make the music that lifts the soul.