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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Lam Toro

Baaba Maal

1992

Lam Toro
Album Summary

Baaba Maal (born 13 June 1953) is a Senegalese singer and guitarist born in Podor, on the Senegal River. In addition to acoustic guitar, he also plays percussion. He has released several albums, both for independent and major labels. In July 2003, he was made a UNDP Youth Emissary.Maal sings primarily in Pulaar and promotes the traditions of the Pulaar-speaking people, who live on either side of the Senegal River in the ancient Senegalese kingdom of Futa Tooro.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.71

Votes

10569

Genres

  • World

Reviews

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Thu Nov 11 2021
2

There’s very cool things happening on this album, cool time signatures, cool singing and an expansive African inflected palette. But I’m constantly distracted by the dated synth effects, the synth horns, etc. simply ruins songs for me. I was eventually won over into thinking this wasn’t awful, but among the 4s and 3s there were some 1s and 2s in my track by track ratings. 2

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Thu Nov 11 2021
1

A great reminder of my chosen life philosophy to have little to no expectations for anything good so that even the slightest deviation above nothing feels like a gift from the gawd of love. This album is Baaba's gift to those expecting another monotonous dirge. How delightful to hear a couple drums now and then, and a goofy synth here and there. Even melody. And as nice as that is, I think we all can agree this is number 1002 on albums we must hear before we die. D+

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Sun Nov 28 2021
3

I already listened to Baaba Maal's earlier album with Mansour Seck for this list, and I dug that one. This one is less driven by acoustic guitar (which is a welcome change), and there's more of a worldbeat//fusion vibe. It's enjoyable and Maal is clearly a talent - but the whole thing has a contrived crossover feel that cheapens it. From looking online, it seems most streams and info relate to the 1993 mix of the album, which has even more of a brash, commercial and dated 1990s sound. I'm basing my rating on the 1992 mix which at least has more of an organic atmosphere. I'm glad there's some African music on the list, but it feels like the editors didn't dig very deep here. 3*

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Wed Sep 15 2021
1

I'm not worldly enough in my musical listening to appreciate this the way I should. Unfortunately, I don't really listen to much of it.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
3

I enjoyed listening to this and it was interesting, but lacking the language or any real cultural basis in the music, I think my ability to appreciate it is pretty limited.

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Thu Sep 09 2021
4

Like a holiday in Africa with extra everything.

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Wed Nov 03 2021
4

Atmospheric world music, in places etherial or upbeat. An album I very much enjoyed but I doubt I would listen to again.

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Sun Dec 12 2021
4

This is as funky and "rootsy" as it gets, and I am a total sucker for funk. Couldn't sit still in my seat while listening to this. Also couldn't find an English translation of the lyrics online, which is a huge shame as lyrics are a huge contributing factor for me. Either way, 4 stars for the original sound and lovely voice.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
5

Really something unique to listen to

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Mon Mar 21 2022
5

Loved it! Very different from what I usually listen, but feels very familiar in some way .

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Thu May 12 2022
5

Absolutely LOVE this album! From the year I was born too! Loved that last Baaba Maal album that came up and this follows, I maybe even prefer this one! Toro has such a moreish sound and the opening Yela is another major highlight. Delicious album! Can't fault it. Love that he's promoting and championing traditions of the Pulaar-speaking people.

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Fri Jan 27 2023
5

Another easy listen. African albums hit different.

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Mon Feb 13 2023
5

I have always been a fan of international music and this is a good artist to add.

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Wed Mar 15 2023
5

Loved it. Need to listen more to full appreciate.

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Tue Jun 27 2023
5

I was sitting by a waterfall and put this on - and felt instantly transported to some other place. I had never heard of Lam Toro but these songs were fantastic and are definitely worth hearing before you die.

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Tue Jun 27 2023
5

I listened to this on a plane, coming home from a vacation with my oldest and dearest whom I only see in person once a year or so. So I was a little sad but this music made me happy. Very fine.

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Tue Jun 27 2023
5

This was my first exposure to Baaba Maal for me that I know of. It was a treat and I enjoyed being introduced.

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Wed Aug 02 2023
5

I love when I'm exposed to an artist/genre like this and it just clicks with me. I loved listening to this and will play this in the future. I'm always wary when anything international makes this list, but this was a wonderful listen for me.

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Wed Sep 20 2023
5

started off not really clicking with me despite how amazing his voice is and a love for music with similar timbres but by the end of the last track I was in a daze and hadn't realised how moved I was for past however many minutes. Then checking the release date and it was early 90s??? Who the fuck produced this it sounds so crisp and massive. The mixing on this was ahead of its time for sure, ranging formform beutifully crisp sounds of the more stripped down tracks to big soaring ones that almost sound like something that Mike Dean would produce. So sick wtf

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Mon Nov 06 2023
5

Makes ya wanna go to Senegal, right?

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Wed Nov 22 2023
5

Gotta get myself to Senegal, they make some good shit. This was amazing

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Thu Aug 26 2021
4

Un álbum que no solo no conocía, probablemente no hubiera topado nunca de no ser por esta lista. Nada acabó en mis playlist, pero está bueno diversificarse

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Sun Aug 29 2021
4

this was a lot of fun. i definitely have a weird soft spot for african rhythms, which this of course lit right up. overall, quite enjoyable.

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Fri Jan 12 2024
4

It’s difficult to properly critique albums like this, because criticism is, at least partially, about being about to place a piece of art’s place within cultural context, explaining the trends that have led to it’s creation and whether or not it works as a continuation of, break from, or subversion of those trends. The albums that I find easiest to review are those which I have a personal connection to, those which I have something to say regarding the political, cultural, or social context, or those which I disliked enough that I can really rag on them. I know precious little about Senegalese history or culture, and even less about Fula, the language Maal speaks. So with the exception of Minuit, which is in French, I wasn’t able to even guess at what the themes of each song was. In some ways, I feel incredibly lost with this album. But in another way, the beauty of this record really does transcend my need for understanding. Like Classical or Jazz, the timbre and melody are enough to make me feel the music on a more instinctive level. And that instinctive level is telling me that this is just great music. Sometimes it’s fun to overthink and to intellectualise, try to make sense of everything, or come up with rational explanations as to why you enjoy things. Other times, it’s fine to just admit that this sounds pretty and funky, and that I enjoyed listening to it. It’s fine to have fun

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Thu Jan 04 2024
5

unique cool funky trippy groovy awesome and cool

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Sun Jan 07 2024
5

Another 5/5 African album. That continent just does not miss!

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Wed May 15 2024
5

I really enjoyed this album. I wish there were more non-Western, non-English albums on this list. This is the kind of stuff I want to experience, not every crappy electronic artist that ever came out of Britain. This album is eclectic and a lot of fun. It ranges from (what I assume to be) very traditional Senegalese sounds to tracks that fuse indigenous and Western traditions. The Arabic influence is also very apparent throughout the album in instrumentation and singing style. His guitar playing is fantastic as well. Hamady Boiro is a Western-funk-rock influenced song that I wasn't expecting after the first few tracks. It's catchy as hell. Anyone who likes Western-African influenced 80s pop (think Talking Heads, Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, etc.) would enjoy this song. The Peter Gabriel connection isn't surprising once you realize they're both involved with Afro Celt Sound System. There are a few more tracks like that on the album, like Gidelam. Olel could be a song off the "Weekend at Bernie's" soundtrack ... take that as you will haha. It's very fun. It also reminds me of Vallenato music from Colombia, and I wonder if there's any historical connection there via the slave trade. I was surprised to find that Tidal had the English lyric translation to Daande Lenol, which is just a lovely song. I wish I had more clue what the other lyrics meant and some cultural context about the album and the artist. Given his association with Afro Celt Sound System and his soundtrack work on Wakanda, it makes sense that he's made this very Western-biased list, but I wonder how he's viewed in Senegal and Western Africa. But just taken in isolation as a pure listening experience, this was a great one. This is one of those albums where I definitely plan to dig deeper into the artist's other work. 5/5

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Fri Nov 05 2021
4

Powerful stuff from the legendary Baaba Maal. Really enjoyable.

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Mon Jan 17 2022
4

Refreshingly different to other albums so far.

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Mon Apr 18 2022
4

Loved the flecks of classic rock in this

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Thu May 12 2022
4

I really liked this, it had a really good vibe.

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Thu May 12 2022
4

I thought this was beautiful, uplifting and interesting. Will definitely listen to some songs again.

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Thu Jun 16 2022
4

Really enjoyed this. Hard not to imagine you’re somewhere sunny and having a great time when this plays. Not sure id sit and actively listen to it but as music to have in the background - winner

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Thu Jul 07 2022
4

The melody on "Lem Gi" is surprisingly moving and vibrant! That one and "Ndelorel" sounded funnily like N64 music, which is fitting considering the year this was released :U Very cool!

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Fri Aug 26 2022
4

HL: Minuit, Hamady Boiro, Gidelam, Lem Gi Baaba Maal is one of my favourite recent discoveries from this album list (though reading Wikipedia, I heard his voice before in the Black Panther soundtrack). “Djam Leeli” was sparse and hypnotic, this is denser & more celebratory. August 29, 2022

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Thu Sep 01 2022
4

Great Afro beats and voice. I really enjoyed listening to this album

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Wed Oct 05 2022
4

Traditional african, unecpected and reminds me of Black Panther, but I Like!

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Wed Nov 02 2022
4

Wonderful - not one I would have ever found without this project, but I'm glad I did!

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Thu Nov 03 2022
4

This was a fun suprise, it was very well spunding and had some very interesting and great tunes

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Thu Nov 17 2022
4

I really enjoyed this! It felt very experimental and exploratory throughout!

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Fri Dec 23 2022
4

7/10. Good stuff. I should listen to this sort of stuff more.

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Fri Dec 23 2022
4

8/10 a few boring tracks , but overall a really enjoyable and unique album.

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Sun Jan 08 2023
4

I enjoyed just about every minute of this wonderful album Not sure I could fully embrace the nasaly nature of Baaba Maal's vocals but the music is wonderful. Rhythmically complex yet accessible, the incorporation of western melodies and production enhances that accessibility but still allows the authenticity of the music to come through. 4 stars

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Thu Feb 16 2023
4

Dispersate musical styles made to work well, with impressive vocals. Could do without the 80s synths though, which I usually like but sound out of place here. Best song, Toro

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Sun Mar 05 2023
4

Funky, groovy, and generally a pleasure even if I have no idea what we're singing about.

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Thu Mar 16 2023
4

Hmmm, I liked the bulk of this, but every now and then it veers into more conventional sounding euro pop, and that kinda dampens my enthusiasm. Probably woulda gone to 5 if it had been less crossover. Fave track - "Yela" is a lovely opener. "Miniut" has some gorgeous moments, even if parts of it are a little-too-conventional ballad sounding...

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Sun Apr 02 2023
4

I've always enjoyed a spot of Baaba Maal. I just love that voice and those Afrobeat rhythms. There are some really lovely chilled songs on this album. Nice.

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Thu Apr 06 2023
4

Leuke Afrikaanse muziek met enkele rock-invloeden

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Wed Apr 12 2023
4

My favorite type of album - a slice of music I never would’ve found on my own.

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Tue Jun 27 2023
4

I enjoyed this voyage to Senegal.

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Wed Jun 28 2023
4

Ca m'a paru un peu long car presque 1h et c'est répétitif mais j'adore le vibe de ces artistes africains ! 4

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Wed Jul 05 2023
4

Really enjoyable album and it has a range of styles on it — some danceable pop and some more traditional-sounding acoustic folk. We’ve had a few West African albums on the list so far and I always connect with them. I also like that some of the more pop-leaning tracks here have a bit of a cheesy production that you expect from the era. But the rhythms still sound complicated. I’m gonna want to revisit this one. (Oooh this guitar solo in the second half of the closing track “Minuit”! 🎸🙌)

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Wed Jul 26 2023
4

Very cool. I don't know WTF is up with the RYM score on this album.

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Wed Aug 02 2023
4

This was so refreshing after a slew of male guitar records from the late 20thcentury.

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Thu Aug 03 2023
4

Something different for a change. I dont think i could listen to this music every day but it was a nice change from all the rock albums I've been getting lately.

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Fri Aug 04 2023
4

While I have very little experience with music like this, the album grew on my as it continued. I really liked the guitar here, especially on the final track.

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Fri Aug 04 2023
4

Youssou N'Dour is my only previous exposure to Senegalese music. Lam Toro is different than Youssou N'Dour's work I have heard, I thought Baaba Maal's juxtaposition of traditional music with more modern rhythm is very interesting and worthy of multiple listens. Time will tell whether if gets a spot on my list.

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Fri Aug 04 2023
4

I'm no expert on this genre, and what little familiarity I have is with South African contemporary artists and bands, so this was really cool to explore how West African music differs. I obviously have no idea what he's saying but the chords and rhythms are just innately compelling. I guess we've heard him before if you've seen the Black Panther movies. Hamady Boiro is a groove. Some production elements are a little dated but make sense for '92 (would have preferred if Gidelam used a real sax or woodwind vs a synth). Disappointed to find very little English language context for the album. Would go 3.5 but feeling generous

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Sun Aug 13 2023
4

"Lam Toro" by Baaba Maal is a captivating album that presents a rich tapestry of Senegalese music and culture. Released in 1992, it showcases Maal's distinctive voice and his ability to blend traditional and contemporary influences. Tracks like "Gorel" and "Lam Tooro" highlight his mastery of storytelling through music. The album's production is a fusion of African rhythms, vibrant melodies, and modern production techniques. "Lam Toro" is an important piece of Maal's discography, offering a window into the vibrant world of Senegalese music and its global impact.

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Thu Aug 31 2023
4

A little bloat on an otherwise enjoyable album.

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Thu Aug 31 2023
4

There's a cool worldbeat/fusion vibe here that I dig, even with the very dated production on it.

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Thu Sep 14 2023
4

One thing that I did not anticipate by participating in 1001 was that I'd get tired and bored of traditional music and along the way develop an openness and tolerance for international music. In addition, I've also come to understand that the music and not the words are what I enjoy the most. Tho, it would be nice to know what he's saying. Lam Toro is a great album that was casually playing in the background while I worked today. And, when it was over I played it again. I think that's the most basic definition of a good album. Well done. Again, I have no idea what he's saying

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Tue Oct 10 2023
4

Baaba Maal has a rich, distinctive voice that works best when it's showcased as a lead instrument, as in the openning track and "Dande Lenol". I like the more traditional arrangements that are rythmic and disjunctive at the same time. When he approaches more traditional funk it's less interesting.

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Tue Oct 10 2023
4

I found Baaba when I was randomly searching the Western African section of the CD store looking to expand my Western African music. Yup - this hit and miss approach was the 1990s equivalent of the Spotify algorithm. He has an excellent voice and there are some decent guitar rhythms. His attempt to fuse didn't quite make it but it's still quite good. I'm rounding up

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Fri Oct 13 2023
4

Upbeat, good vibes album. I enjoyed listening even though I had no idea what was being said

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Wed Oct 25 2023
4

Glad I gave this one a chance, I didn't really jive with the first song but ended up enjoying this album a lot! Baaba Maal's got some pipes!

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Fri Oct 27 2023
4

Passionate vocal energy, rhythmic. Not something I'd listen to a lot, but a lot of beauty in this.

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Fri Oct 27 2023
4

I think I'd like to spend more time with this album.

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Mon Nov 06 2023
4

Senegalese excellence for a Thursday morning

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Sat Nov 11 2023
4

Baaba Maal combines traditional and modern and comes up with something joyous and life affirming. Uplifting in the gloom, a talented artist shines.

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Thu Nov 16 2023
4

I liked it, this is the first album I had no context for. Different but had a great sound

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Thu Nov 16 2023
4

Sounds like the authentic version of a Paul Simon Afro-derivative album. Good melodies, good arrangements. My mind isn't blown but it's good.

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Fri Nov 24 2023
4

Wow… this made me an instant convert. There’s something in here which I had never heard before, a sound that’s so energizing and different. And his voice… so emotional, resonant, fully present. It seems like most people bounce off this record… that wasn’t the case for me, not at all. I was obsessed immediately. Ran to find all his songs. There are very cool things in here that I will be thinking about. 4/5

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Fri Dec 01 2023
4

This was more enjoyable than I expected. Most of the time I felt I was listening to the credits on a 90's comedy featuring a beach town, but even that wasn't so bad.

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Fri Dec 08 2023
4

Love the uplifting tracks. Well done!

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Sun Jan 07 2024
4

Whenever an African album appears on this list, you’re in for a treat I was expecting something similar to his magnificent debut - and the he totally surprises you with synths and pop vibes and… But of course also some wonderful West African rhythms. To me it’s not quite as good as his debut, but Baaba Maal is still one of those artists whose discography you should definitely dive deeper into.

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Thu Jan 11 2024
4

Starting off, I think this might have the lowest "Plays" on spotify of any album I've listened to so far for this project -- around 15k streams per track, which is pretty crazy for an "Album You Must Listen To Before You Die." However, it is also an album not from the USA/UK/Canada, so I have to give it bonus points for that, a bit refreshing for sure. On to the actual music. This one is a bit frustrating to me, I think Baaba Maal sounds very talented but I agree with some other reviewers that I think the "crossover" attempts with more western instrumentation are a bit cringy in hindsight. I like the songs that are more "rootsier" than the songs that have like a rock 'n' roll band behind him. Like for example, I was really feeling "Daniibe" until that 90s seinfeld slap bass came in and I audibly groaned. Ehhh now the very 90s sounds are starting to win me back over, the MIDI(?) in "Olel" is pretty fun, and harkens me back to like SMW soundtracks, or 90s Grateful Dead "Drums>Space" jams. Oh I bet Mickey Hart LOVED this album. (OK for any other Dead Heads out there doing this project, yup they did perform together at least once, at the 2006 "Jammies" awards at MSG [which I did not realize was a thing, wow they should bring that back.]) A little further research finds that they actually played together three times that week, alongside Phish's Mike Gordon! And... Walter Cronkite?? https://phish.net/setlists/mike-gordon-april-21-2006-grand-central-terminal-new-york-ny-usa.html I'm getting way off track. What is that guitar whaling doing in the background of "Minuit" lol. Very weird record from 2024 standpoints, but it's really won me over I think. OH GOD I just downloaded the 1993 mix and this is SO MUCH ROUGHER. THE RAPPING INTRO over "Hamady Boiro" jesus man.... 1992 mix (the one on spotify) is infinitely better. "Its the african music called yelle"

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Thu Jan 11 2024
4

Interesting blend of west African music & electronica but it doesn’t quite hang together

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Thu Jan 18 2024
4

I really loved this album, I absolutely love world music. About half way through there were some very distracting synth horns? But the rest of the album was so beautiful I’m still giving it a 4

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Thu Jan 18 2024
4

Broad mix of R&B, ballad, dance, pop, and unique Senegalese beats. A rich tapestry of sound and feeling. Extra props for multiple singing in multiple languages so fluently.

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Wed Jan 24 2024
4

I wish I could translate his lyrics. I didn't need to with Sy Sawande, he was singing with so much regret it was heartbreaking. I finally looked up a translation of the title " I'm Sorry." Perfect.

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Thu Jan 25 2024
4

I really liked this album. It has hints of Paul Simon's, Graceland, and great instrumentals. I really enjoyed the tunes even though I didn't know what was said! Relaxing as I was elevating my foot...perfect combination.

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Sun Jan 28 2024
4

Loved that it was different!

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Mon Feb 12 2024
4

I love getting albums from all over the world! This was fun and engaging to listen to.

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