Friday, September 23, 2011

Idrissa Diop - Femme Noire (1987)

In the 1980s Paris was the place to be for talented musicians from the Francophone ex-colonies. As cassette piracy decimated musician incomes at home, as well as local music industries, Paris became a vibrant melting pot for musician refugees. Idrissa Diop left Senegal to seek his fortune there, and this album is one of his many achievements.

Diop chose the Senegalese rockers Xalam to back him on Femme Noire, as well as French electronic music wizard Jean-Phillipe Rykiel. This album was produced when Rykiel was involved on other projects with Xalam and Youssou N'Dour, and also on Salif Keita's seminal Soro album. Rykiel's hand is heavy on a few songs, which depending on my mood  has caused me to turn it off; but if I can overcome that urge, there is enough of Diop's percussion and singing to keep me interested. The straight percussion workouts "Worunana" and "Sahel" are breaths of fresh air that counterbalance the sometimes harsh urban edge on other tracks.

Femme Noire is a world away from Diop's roots recordings, reviewed in my last post, but it still is worth a listen.

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