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Yewoulen Wake Up – Awale Jant Band.

Nov 7, 2020


The explosion of world music which thundered and rumbled through the late 80s and early 90s championed on radio by John Peel and especially Andy Kershaw, all too quickly vanished over the horizon. Now it’s often just another genre with minimal shelf space. Yet there are still signals being sent out for those who will listen. One of the lasting benefits of the movement was to get musicians with open minds to develop new fusions and mutant roots. The blending of folk, jazz and reggae  birthed in the U.K. the wonders of Edward II, the electro swirls of the Afro Celts to name but two. Meanwhile France found cross cultural riches through African sources, becoming the recording base of many.

Awale Jant Band has its feet in France and Senegal, whilst its musical senses shift between jazz, Latin and Afro soul. Physically the band are based in London. Coming together in 2017, the core bonded over a mutual admiration for James Brown, Fela Kuti and The Fania Allstars. Now with this bright, bubbling froth of an album they’re out to sound track your party – whenever you have the next one! ‘Wake Up,’ is  a pretty convincing call to arms, which rides funky grooves and blasts of brass with consummate ease. It can’t have been easy marshalling an eight piece band and sundry guests into a cohesive, convincing, fresh whole, but tight composition by founders Biram Seck and Thibaut Remy – vocals and guitar respectively – keep everything in sight whilst allowing genre blending and flights of fancy which serve the cause.

Opener ‘Sope,’ is a communal anthem which sets out their stall in delightful fashion, delivering a further forty minutes of high octane dance music which rarely slows though ‘Domi Adama,’ is reflective and reminds any listening that we all share a common ancestry no matter where we hail from.

Melodic balm for divided times. You’d do well to heed their call and message.

Simon Jones.

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