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World Music CD Reviews Africa


Published January 25, 2006

West Nile Funk

Born in Paris to a West Indian singer and an Israeli guitarist, Yossi Fine has played bass for David Bowie, Lou Reed and Me’Shell Ndegocello. While working as a DJ spinning world/dance music, he was frustrated by records that were “either too soft on beats or too soft on the African element.” So he decided to create his own sound-system jams, playing complete African-influenced songs instead of using loops. With traditional Ghanaian musician/vocalists Prince Nana Dadzie and Miss Adevo, plus Moroccan/Israeli drummer Michael Avgil, Fine delivers an uptempo, bass-heavy mix with the frenetic live drums right up front—it’s much more dance-orientated than the dub-style tracks on their first album. Underneath the beats are multiple layers of enchanting flutes, chants, percussion and kalimba. On “The Original Ragga,” they update a traditional Hutu wedding song. “Alice In Voodooland” features a storyteller from Togo, plus a hunter from Burundi vocalizing through a pipe. There’s everything from Hebrew to dancehall-style raps in this ancient/modern musical mélange. Perfect for really big stereos -- with subwoofers of course.