Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mandingo Griot Society (1978)

After seeing the Mandingo Griot Society perform in the basement of the student union building at the University of Michigan, I bought their album. It was my first African album, purchased with enthusiasm after my first exposure to live African music. Still it remains a favorite.

Of course Foday Musa Suso was already pushing the boundaries of his griot heritage, having relocated from the Gambia to the U.S. This album was the start of a long career of innovation that found the kora master forging relationships with progressive musicians Herbie Hancock and Bill Laswell.

This record had some heavy play during its early years, and there are some pops and crackles, but most of the album sounds great. I saw it posted elsewhere, much compressed, and thought it deserved some room to breathe.
This groundbreaking recording is now available on CD here.

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