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World Music CD Reviews Africa

FREDERIC GALLIANO AND THE AFRICAN DIVAS

By Judson Kilpatrick
Published January 17, 2006

Sacré Live!
F Communications

Galliano is a French DJ and label owner (Frikyiwa) who mixes West African singers and players with house music beats, calling the result “Bamako meets Chicago.” The “African Divas” featured here are Hadja Kouyaté (from Guinea), Ramata Doussou (Mali) and Aïssata Baldé (Senegal). They each take the lead for two or three songs, performing over pounding 4/4 club rhythms. Galliano and co. create a perfect blend of old and new, letting the chants and beats build throughout each track. The audience shares in the excitement, reflecting and enhancing the energy of the performances. And while the occasional crowd noises prove that this was taped live, the recording is clean and crisp enough that most of the selections could be played as regular house music tracks. So, Sacré Live! is more than just a document of what the African Divas shows are like; it’s actually a great source of propulsive, blissful club tunes—which means that one of the best dance music releases of the year will probably end up being hidden away in the “world” or “ethnic” sections.