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Best of Faateleku: Music from the Gambia
Ismaila Oussou Njie Señor

Label: aNOnym reCOrds

From the opening track’s Muslim greeting in the Wolof language, backed by infectious soca breaks, the listener realizes that there is something special about the new CD from Ismaila Oussou Njie. Formerly a member of the Gambian group Super Eagles, which toured West Africa and the UK to sold-out audiences in the late 60s and early 70s, Njie has recorded two new albums, of which a selection have been assembled on this CD for release in the US.

The first acknowledgements on the CD is the artist’s thanks to Allah "for giving me the chance to make people happy." Gratitude and optimism infuse this album from the first song, "Noou-Yoou Oussou Njie (Salaam Alekum)," and its Africanized Muslim greeting to the track "Bada Touré," thanking this "supporter, patron, and fan par excellence to Gambian music and musicians." Underlying this message of gratitude is a great variety of music — including the increasingly popular blending of African percussion with salsa and Cuban influences.

The result is an eminently danceable album with positive messages throughout (if you speak the languages or read the translations). But one need not understand the lyrics to appreciate the spirit and energy of the music. Some listeners may find the production a little slick, but most fans of salsa and/or West African music will be dancing and wondering if they can find those old Super Eagles albums.

©Scott Stevens---10/4/0


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