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World Music CD Reviews Africa


By Jill Ettinger
Published June 27, 2006

Introducing Daby Balde
World Music Network

It often seems that this world really is getting smaller. Time is shrinking the space between our past and future and perhaps no place is this more evident than music, as rich traditions present themselves through modern interpretations with stunning artistry. Hardly new to the world are sounds from African hot-spot Senegal, thanks to legends like Baaba Maal and Youssou N’Dour. Another reason Senegal is a must-visit stop on the musical world map is the talent of Daby Balde. His traditional explorations melt with eclectic experimentation with West African kora, guitar, fiddle and flute. Lyrics sung in French, Fula, Wolof and Mandinka blend seamlessly. Opening with the appropriate “Mamadiyel,” a luring melodic Gambian greeting sets an inviting tone present throughout the record. The Islamic inspired “Waino Blues” is gorgeously simple, imparting a deep spiritual searching understood in any language. Harmonies abound on tracks like “Sora,” “Halaname” and “Mbeugel.” Introducing Daby Balde, sounds more like a visit from an old friend, making one wonder why this introduction was not made sooner.