In the autumn of 1992, the influential Senegalese producer Ibrahima Sylla arrived in New York City accompanied by Boncana Maïga, a much-revered Malian flautist/arranger. Also along for the ride were three of Sylla’s singing countrymen. Two were seasoned veterans—Medoune Diallo’s liquid tenor had once fronted Orchestra Baobab while Pape Seck’s gravelly basso profundo had graced Star Band de Dakar. Young Nicholas Menheim, a Super Etoile de Dakar alum with a florid, robust baritone, rounded out the trio.Their upcoming project, dubbed Africando, resulted from a series of intersecting histories and fortunate confluences. Maïga had once been an exchange student in Cuba, where he formed a band called Maravillas de Mali and married a local woman. Sylla owned thousands of salsa albums and knew the genre inside-out. Both men understood that Latin music was based upon rhythms imported into the Caribbean by slaves from the Continent and were actively involved in re-Africanizing it. So it seemed to them that the time was ripe for an encounter between two long-estranged but parallel scenes, to re-seal a broken circle from source-to-source.