Friday, November 19, 2010

CD Review: Alma Afrobeat Ensemble - 'Toubab Soul'

Toubab Soul

The Barcelona-based Alma Afrobeat Ensemble is an eclectic mix of band members and musical styles. Some members are from Norway, Senegal, USA, Ghana, Uruguay, and Argentina. Toubab Soul is a truly afro-beat recording with multilingual vocals, groovy-jazz dance, and highly percussive beats. Of course, there is an element of 1970's West African grooves. The rap opener, "Taskmaster", gets things started with an inherent African hip-hop beat without foraying too far into urbanism. "Mali" is an ode to the country of the same name. The guitar, sax, kalimba, and djembe drum provide a Latin influence to the instrumental track. The funky "New School", smooth-groove "Kudja", world-jazzy "Own World" and "Muziqawi Silt", and the reggae-tinged "S. Africa" provide a solid cross-section of tunes that are well-structured and musically-engaging. The Alma Afrobeat Ensemble makes the music of Africa shine all in one place. ~ Matthew Forss

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