Sublime Frequencies Baba Commandant And The Mandingo Band : Juguya (BF,2015)****
This is the first new band the label releases, but in fact the style is rather timeless and difficult to pinpoint to an era. Their sound is heavily inspired by Afro-beat, but brought with the power of early African rock music, rhythmically engaged as if having some effect of funk, while remaining structured like Afro-beat. The lead singer is the story singer, with powerful voice, getting responses from group vocalists, while the rhythms are empowered by several electric rhythm guitars, thumb piano, electric bass and drums, with extensions by solo fuzz electric guitar or wild sax improvisations. A few tracks give more voice to the vocals, are rockier or more acoustic. We hear subtle interesting accents like guitar effects in the background (on “Folon”) or drums taken over by percussion (including cowbell). The music is rooted in traditional Mandingo music, while it’s approach is modern and with the approach of a rocker, while it’s songs get the treatment that gives them both groove as a more powerful voice. One of the traditional instruments used is the West African ngoni, a kind of mini rhythm guitar-typed accompanying instrument with kalabash body and 6 harp strings.