Orchestre Du Bawobab: Kelen Ati Len + Jarraf
From Visage Du Senegaal (Disques Buur, 1974)

Amongst certain circles of Afro-funk fans, “Kelen Ati Len” is probably the best-known song by this Dakar band but this LP is hardly a one-tracker 1 No doubt, “Kelen Ati Len” is killer with its crashing drums and angular guitar work. It’s like Bawobab/Baobab members had spent a few years jamming with the Kashmere Stage Band before returning to Senegal.

However, I included “Jarraf” because you get a whole other sense of cross-cultural play with its Latin touches. That’s the whole thing about Afro-Caribbean music styles – West African traditions ended up in the Caribbean via the slave trade and then took root and evolved…and once Latin music blew up in the 1950s onward, you can hear how African groups blended it back into their music. Polyculturalism, made manifest?

  1. Alas, a digitizing flaw messed up the 3rd song I wanted to include.