Thursday, 1 September 2016

Orchestra Baobab - 2008.Sep.12 Pure Jazz The Hague NL

Had this post almost completed before my "summerbreak", so with almost 2 months delay I have for you a 2008 concert by Orchestra Baobab.

Top band on Pure Jazz 2008: the legendary Orchestra Baobab from Senegal, Cuban swing and traditional West African music in a group catchy sound. Especially the cheerful and colorful tenor saxophonist Issa Cissoko made ​​a party and sought all the time eye contact with the audience. (sources: flickr - flickr)

Apart from above pictures didn't find much about the Pure Jazz Festival (seems 2008 was the last edition), so here short something about (Orchestra) Baobab:

In the early 1970s Barthelemy Attiso, born in Togo, was living as a law student in Dakar, in his free time he had learned himself to play guitar. Together with Balla Sidibe, Medoune Diallo and Issa Cissoko he started a band called Orchestre Saf Mounadem. Soon they could get a residency at the recently opened Baobab Club in Dakar, so they recruited some more members, mostly former musicians rom the Star Band and changed their name to Orchestra Baobab. They played Afro-Cuban music and as a multi-ethnic and multi-national band they fused this with their own traditions, like harmonies and drumming from Casamance (in southern Senegal), melodies from Togo and Morocco and Wolof tradition from northern Senegal. Till 1985 they recorded some 20 albums and when in 1979 the Club Baobab closed its doors the band succesfully sought new venues to play. In the meantime a new style of music, called Mbalax, had developed and steadily gained popularity, so that in the mid 1980s Orchestra Baobab with their Afo-Cuban based music were considered 'old fasioned'. This resulted in a break-up of the band, some members forming or joining other groups, and Barthelemy Attisso even returning to Togo to practice law.
After their break-up some of their albums were released in Europe, these got much critical acclaim and sold reasonably well outside Senegal. In 2001 at instigation of their English record label and successful Mbalax musician Youssou N'Dour they came together again and started preparing for an international come-back tour. This tour was so succesful that they decided to continue with the band and since then they have made regular tours around the world and even some new recordings. During one of those tours they played at the Pure Jazz Festival in The Hague, Holland.

Listen to the first track

BAOBAB-20080912_Pure Jazz The Hague CZ

setlist: setlist: 1.Sutukum / 2.Dee Moo Wor / 3.improvisation / 4.Nijaay / 5.Colette / 6.Bul Ma Miin / 7.Utru Horas / 8.Gnawoe

In '3.improvisation' I noticed a rhythmic pattern (clave), which is also used in Ko Sira by Oumou Sangare, learned this pattern a long time ago from a drummer interested in all sorts of rhythms, it goes like this (in which X = hit and - = pause):

If you like to start learning this one best use both hands as shown under under, in which Capitals are Hits (X) and lower cases are dummies (-).
If split this up, first eight above and last eight under, you'll see that no Hit is at the same point in time, that's what makes this simple pattern more difficult than you think at first to learn and keep in time. But when you've mastered it, you'll always keep it with you and recognise when used in music.
(more info and background here)

Summarised Discography (detailed disco in download)

1972: Laye Thiam / Saf Mounadem (LP) - at adunablog
           side B by Saf Mounadem, later renamed Ba(w)obab
1972: Baobab - 2xLP (Baobab #BAO)
1975: Bawobab - 5xLP (Disques Buur #BRLP) - at gg BRLP.003 and BRLP.005
1977: Bawobab - 2xLP (Music Afrique #MSCLP) - at gg MSCLP.002 - found MSCLP.001
1978: Baobab a Paris - 2xLP+12" (Abou Ledoux #ASL) - at gg vol.1 and vol.2
1979: Baobab Succes 79 (LP, Disc Afrique #DARL001)
1980: Baobab - 2xLP (Jambaar #JM) - found link JM.5004
1982: Baobab - 2xK7 - Vol.1&2 (M'Baye Gueye)
1982: Baobab - Ken Dou Werente (LP) comp.1982 K7s
1986: Baobab Guygui - Mame Diarra Bousso (K7, Studio 2000)
198x: Baobab de Dakar 86 - 3xK7 (various labels) - found link SYL.83105
2002: Specialist In All Styles (CD, World Circuit) old songs rerecorded
2007: Made In Dakar (CD, World Circuit / Nonesuch Records)
Comp: N'Wolof (1998, CD, Dakar Sound DKS 014) mostly prev.unr.1970-71
Comp: VA - Senegal 70 (2015, Analog Africa) incl.2 prev.unr.Baobab tracks
Re-Comp: Pirates Choice - 1982 K7s (1989, CD) (2001, 2CD) / On Verra Ca - 1978 Paris Sessions (1992, CD) / Bamba - 1980 LPs (1993, CD) / Roots And Fruit (1999, CD) / A Night At Club Baobab (2006, CD) / Classic Titles (2007, CD) / Belle Epoque 1971-77 (2009, 2CD) / Belle Epoque Vol.2 1973-76 (2011, 2CD)
Re-K7s: Baobab - Vol.1/2/3/4 - 1972-75 tracks (198x, Bellot) - vol.2/3 at wrldsrv

Baobab to watch while downloading:

Continue enjoying the MUSIC and EATING



  1. Wellcome
    Some extra information in your mailbox.

  2. Thanks NGONI, included in discography

  3. Seen them a few times after they were re-launched by World Circuit (and Youssou), last time was at Vienne Jazz Fest last year, Barthelemy Attiso was not there and was replaced by a (very good) youngster, the show was great nevertheless!

    Incidentally, World Circuit announced they would return to the studio in 2016 to record a new album...

  4. awaiting their new album.....
    found some rare K7/LP links and added in the discography for your enjoyment

    1. Thanks for the links, I found pictures of the Ndeleng Ndeleng cover on both sides.

  5. I'm not sure that one would actually call that rhythmic pattern a clave - clave is, very specifically, the Afro-Cuban pattern played on claves. This also is probably not quite the same as on the Oumou Sangare song. She's Wassoulou, and her group normally sticks to rhythms that are found in the region. (Unlike, say, Habib Koite, who not only uses rhythms from all of the different groups of people in Mali, but Cuban, etc. as well.) I think you *might* be hearing segments of different parts of a single rhythm, one that is meant to be played on multiple instruments. But without hearing a specific example, I can't say for sure. It is, however, my guess, due to the sources Baobab has always drawn on for their music.

    1. =>spinning in air
      To clarify where I recognised the "clave" pattern: in Baobab's 3.improvisation it's the cymbals and in Sangare's Ko Sira it's the handclaps in the beginning (and I remember during concerts the trowing of the calabashes in the middle section). In both cases it's not the main rhythm, but used as a sort of guide pattern to give the other musicians a common rhythmic reference.

    2. A *lot* or rhythms from these parts of West Africa have multiple parts, especially if musicians are using arrangements made for the stage, as opposed to dances in villages (i.e., not urban areas). It really depends on who is doing the arranging, how the rhythm is put across by whoever is playing, etc. Keep in mind that there is a very strong melodic component to West African rhythms; it is about more than "time." (I know, this is probably a bit weird, but I have been studying Malinke percussion for 9 years, and know a few dance rhythms from different parts of Mali as well - am a big fan of most every Malian style I've ever heard, in fact!)

      The thing is, very often we Westerners hear something and think "Oh, this is the same thing as that" when in fact it's not. Happens all the time with jazz drummers who know a bit about Afro-Cuban music (enough to easily identify some variations of a clave pattern) when they hear bossa nova-style drumming. They assume that ornamentation, and little touches that drummers throw in for fun = clave. It's not true - there is no clave in Brazilian music (unless a group is playing a piece in an Afro-Cuban style :) ).

  6. P.S.: I know very little about Senegalese rhythms, and have never studied with anyone who could teach the instruments and rhythms commonly used in mbalax. But I am going to be that the calabash thing you heard Oumou's group play is a rhythm (or part of one) played by women who come from her ethnic group and geographical area. Nobody from the West has done much regarding women's music from any part of W. Africa - they all seem to focus on music (including drum ensembles) played by men.

    At any rate, the next time I listen to some of Oumou's music, I will be listening for what you are talking about. Might be able to find a video, too.


    1. OK!
      here's a videoclip of Ko Sira,, with the "clave" handclaps in the beginning.
      The thing with trowing the calabashes in "clave" I only (think to) remember from the concerts I've seen, didn't see any video recordings of it.

    2. I went to see the video of Ko Sira and discovered that it is incomplete only 4:18, I uploaded the full version of 7 minutes.

  7. mangue, I think that is just meant as an intro. The actual rhythm starts with the djembe and dunun (bass drum).

  8. Also, Sega Sidibé, a djembe master from Wassoulou, has issued a few CDs. You can also find videos of him on YouTube and likely on Daily Motion as well. Most of the names of the rhythms should be listed, though probably not all.

  9. Edit: a lot of the video clips of Sega S. show him playing rhythms from other parts of Mali. Best to consult the CD that was issued on Buda Musique for Wassoulou rhythms/dance music...

  10. Which can be found here:

    (My apologies for leaving so many comments!)

    1. =>spinning in air
      All your comments are welcome, so no need for apologies: if you have something to say, don't hesitate to get it out to other people!!