Mark Ernestus' Ndagga Rhythm Force: Yermande
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Five years in, with two acclaimed albums and dozens of international performances, Mark Ernestus' Ndagga Rhythm Force announces Yermande, a new phase for this Dakar‐Berlin collaboration. "This time around I was better able to specify what I wanted right from the initial recording sessions in Dakar," says Ernestus, "... I took more freedom in reducing and editing audio tracks, changing MIDI data, replacing synth sounds and introducing electronic drum samples." Rather than submitting to the routine, discrete gradations of recording, producing and mixing, the music is tangibly permeated with deadly intent from the start. Lethally it plays a clipped, percussive venom and thumping bass against the soaring, open‐ throated spirituality of Mbene Seck's singing. The drumming is unpredictable, exclamatory, zinging with life. Likewise the production: intuitive and fresh but utterly attentive, limber but hefty. Six chunks of nextlevel mbalax - funky as anything. "Lamb Ji" is traditional wrestling, the most popular sport in Senegal, always introduced by hours of drumming, gris-gris magic and dancing (led by the fighters themselves). Born into the Momori griot clan in Tivaouane, Mbene moved to Pikine on the outskirts of Dakar, where Ndongo Lo was first to invite her to sing at lamb events. Here she pays homage to all the popular fighters of recent times. Evoking the ancient legacy of the griots, "Walo Walo" is also the name of the sabar rhythm underlying this track, which features Ibou Mbaye's percussive synthwork, Mangone Ndiaye Dieng's kit-drumming, and Bada Seck's jolts of lower-pitched thiol drum. "Simb" ("Lion") refers to traditional drumming and dancing events, at which a cavorting "faux lion" frightens the audience members. "Jigeen" means "Woman": "Man should know every woman is your mother. Cherish a woman. Respect a woman's dignity. Look after the people who were there when you had nothing." A tribute to the Baye Fall leader, "Ndiguel" is the most traditional cut, showcasing Assane Ndoye Cisse's insinuating guitar lines, Laye Lo's super‐elasticated snare‐drumming, and Bada Seck playing the khine drums associated with the Baye Fall. "Yermande" takes a former associate to task: "Stop prompting the witchdoctor to curse us. Leave people alone and let them go their own way. Take yours; leave ours to us" Like "Lamb Ji" and "Simb", featuring all four sabar players: Bada Seck, Serigne Mamoune Seck, Abou Salla Seck and Alioune Seck.
Modular 8: One of Wire's top 50 last year!