There seems to be an understandably low level of expectation (even if only in my head) of many contemporary UK based acts claiming to create ‘World’ or African music. The general approach tends to be predominantly based around a slightly abstract form of Afrobeat, which is probably understandable when you consider the aspirational context of the music.
Refreshingly the inevitable feeling of trepidation when the debut ‘Fofoulah‘ EP landed was imeediately banished on the first listen. Despite the fact that 4 of the 6 members originate from the UK, the balance brought to the project by Biram Seck (Vocals, Senegal) and Kaw Secka (The Gambia) is unavoidable.
The styles, influences and tempo’s are presented with such variety that each track on ‘Bene Bop’ is almost a direct contrast to it’s predecessor. In stead of the aforementioned inevitability of an Afrobeat structure, the predominant genre on display seems to be related to the Senegalese ‘Mbalax’ previously heard in Mark Ernestus’ ‘Jeri Jeri’ project. However the variety of both styles and influences on show mean that this release should be considered so much more than a watered down representation of traditional Senegalese and Gambian griot music.
Additionally there’s a remix of the track ‘Fofoulah’ by Tumbleweave favourites Soundspecies. The final offering on the release, it is quite the abstract version employing some obscure drum patterns to provide a suitably eclectic finale to a positively eccentric EP.
Check out the Fofoulah Bandcamp page here to grab your copy of the ‘Bene Bop’ release, and watch the video below for a quick intro to the project.
Bene Bop EP
1. Bene Bop 03:54
2. Fofoulah 04:46
3. My Heart 05:50
4. Gadaiy 06:05
5. Balou Nala 03:11
6. Fofoulah (Soundspecies Remix) 05:45