Cristal Rec./Harmonia Mundi Distr.NMB Afro-Beat Experience :
It took me a while to grasp in which area of style they this band really belongs. Their website introduces them as saying they are featuring African and European guests that “met on the roads of both continents on the fiery road from Lagos to Bobo Dioulasso. Torrified under the blazing sun of Burkina Faso, this album invites the Nigerian Yorubas’ Highlife Afrobeat to the Mandingue Griots’ feast. A glowing reunion between two West-African worlds and NMB BRASS BAND’s New Orleans-style line-up.” This gives already a closer picture on the references being taken to be launched into a style of their own which still sounds familiar but which also holds a complexity of references, a fluency in playing, a funky groove, soulful expressions, afrobeat references, and call/responses of singer with backing singers but also via smooth jazzy big band brass responses.
The first track by a male singer is a powerful song message that sticks with you, in which the singer and speaker acts like a messenger, pushing up power into his voice, and finding a groove with it too, the group responds to his energetic fury, confirming his honesty in its message. The brass with rhythms (cowbells, drums and ticking rhythms) dominate, funky guitar rhythms already appear. A female singer and a female responding group, with the same backing band, lead the second track. The lively beats get some organ themes in the next track too and guitar responses, this is closer to the rather psychedelic flavoured territory of Nigerian Afro-beat, a beat, which is able to speed up too. The next track shows a bit more of a jazz element. The next track is funkier, we hear a soulful singing by a female vocalist, powerful soul within its funky rhythm, with responses. The next track shows more funky guitar rhythms with brass arrangements, elements of jazz, rock and Nigeria, while the last track shows repetitive grooves with afro-beat rhythms. All in all, while the soul of Africa is able to present itself, in traditional forms of associations, the general grooves also are empowered with the big band jazz band approach, a combination which works as a podium energy that could indeed allow many different voices to participate.