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A new concert with orchestrabaobab and 2015-03-05 at mixmusik
Orchestra Baobab are one of Africa’s great iconic bands, creators of one of the world’s most sublime and truly distinctive pop sounds. Founded in 1970, Orchestra Baobab fused Afro-Cuban rhythm and Portuguese Creole melody with Congolese rumba, high life and a whole gamut of local styles – kickstarting a musical renaissance in their native Senegal, which turned the capital Dakar into one of the world’s most vibrant musical cities. They produced more hits in less than a decade than other bands in a lifetime. While Baobab found themselves sidelined by the revolution they helped create and disbanded in 1985, a huge groundswell of international interest led to their triumphant reformation in 2001. Orchestra Baobab are still very much in business today.
'When I arrived in Senegal in 1968, there was only Cuban music,' says Orchestra Baobab’s Togolese guitarist Barthélemy Attisso. 'Back home, we were listening to Nigerian high life and Congolese guitar music, but if you walked past a club in Dakar, you would swear there were Cubans playing inside. Yet they were all Senegalese!'
If you want to get to grips with the Orchestra Baobab story, you have to get under the skin of their home town Dakar. Westernmost city on the African continent, former capital of France’s vast West African empire, Dakar has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most dynamic musical capitals, home to superstars like Youssou N’Dour, Baaba Maal and Cheikh Lô who have given Senegal perhaps the highest musical profile of any country in Africa. Yet in 1970, when Orchestra Baobab were formed, Dakar was still, in many ways like a French city, a tropical Marseille of art deco apartment blocks, showpiece modernist architecture and pavement cafes. And musically, the city was a backwater.
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