Dakar Audio Club, a septet from Dakar in Senegal play Afro-Fusion, influenced by music from Senegal, Mali, Zimbabwe and Congo. Spotted by Angry Baby music-finder Neil March through his work as a moderator for Fresh on the Net, they’ve received attention from Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music, and they’ve been played by Verity Sharp on Late Junction on BBC Radio 3 midweek. Neil sees them carving out a niche that is completely their own. Slowly but surely, they’re gaining wider recognition, so we’re delighted to share Dakar Audio Club with you. Their eponymous album is reviewed below by Angry Baby music reviewer Tim Brooks.
Before you read on, Dakar Audio Club is giving a FREE download of “Cherie”, from the album, to Angry Baby readers. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!
I was a little nervous about this review.
My knowledge of African music is limited when compared to say, Americana or Folk Rock. Whilst I have a confidence in my writing style and musical ear, I want to ensure that every piece I write does the band justice. Good thing then that:
a) Dakar Audio club are so SO much more than just an African music band
b) You have no idea which direction Dakar Audio Club’s music is going to turn to next, and that’s a wonderful thing!
The surprises come straight from the off, when you find that – despite the band first meeting on the sunnier scenes of Dakar, Senegal (hence the name), and the regular use of French within a number of their songs – they relocated, and currently call Exeter, South Devon their home. Don’t let the relocation trip you up though, throughout this entire record rings a streak of equatorial sunshine, in the band’s own words:
“inspired by the sounds you would hear on a crackly transistor radio walking the streets of Dakar , Lagos or Banjul”
Opener “Yallai Boor” showcases a feature of Dakar Audio Club’s sound, the low fi recording. In the most positive and endearing way, the casual instrumentation gives images of a chilled out live session, rather than the cramped settings of a studio. As a result, the music breathes as lead singer Fatou Hall’s voice reverberates via a vocal echo.
The tempo and the pace relents down for the slow reggae of “Cherie”, before launching back up again during the same song for a sped up Soweto shakedown. It provides one the album’s highlights, and defines the jigsaw piece nature of Dakar Audio Club’s songwriting.
The surprises come again for the following track “Diougou Yaa”. A quick check of the band’s influences cites Neil Young as one of the prime sources of inspiration, and the driven chimes of the rhythm guitar in this track confirm that. Of course if you read further down the influence list, you will naturally find a mix of key players within contemporary African music, and these influences also weave their way into “Diougou Yaa”, making it an album highlight.
Ultimately, despite my initial worries about my lack of understanding into this area of music, I’m delighted that I’ve been exposed to a band that’s ambitious, daring, challenging, and pushes the boundaries to create a niche and a sound that truly belongs to them, and them alone.
Cherie, Diougou Yaa
Dakar Audio Club’s advice for anyone starting up in music:
I would say to anyone starting out as a musician – research !! Find out about the music you like , how is it made , what does each instrument do , what were their influences , read about musicians you like and their lives, listen carefully.take time , practice, refine until you can get the sound you hear in your head out there for everyone to hear.
Dakar Audio Club was released on May 29th. Get your copy here
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