Last night saw the first London show in over three years for Senegal's mighty Orchestra Baobab. There was a danger that Orchestra Baobab could have fallen a bit flat after the intensity of their supporting act, Baloji’s performance. However, this did not happen. The ten-piece band is sure to create the same transportive inclusive vibe whether they playing an intimate venue or in a huge setting like the Barbican.
One of Africa’s supergroups, Orchestra Baobab came together in 1970, taking their name from the Dakar night club where they were resident for most of the following decade. Distinguished from the outset by their multi-ethnic membership, drawing in musicians from all over Senegal as well as Togo and Nigeria, their music was broad and multi-lingual, but with a strong Cuban flavour.
Support was provided by upcoming star Baloji with his band Orchestre De Ka Katuba, who mix rap with Congolese rhumba to create a unique contemporary sound, beautifully exemplified on his album 'Kinshasa Succursale', released on Crammed Discs last month.
Let us hope that Orchestra Baobab soon return to the UK for their next tour. This time, let's not leave it three years?
Able to leap from Afro-Cuban dance tunes to griotsongs and Congolese pop, the band members are a walking compendium of West African music, saxophones and guitars rocking in rhythm over sinuous percussion, The Times.