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Specialists in All Styles
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Performer Notes
  • Orchestra Baobab: Rudy Gomis (vocals, maracas, claves); Barthelemy Attisso (vocals, guitar); Balla Sidibe (vocals, timbales); Ndiouga Dieng, Assane Mboup, Medoune Diallo (vocals); Latfi Ben Geloune (guitar); Thierno Koite (soprano, alto, & tenor saxophones); Issa Cissikho (tenor saxophone); Charlie Ndiaye (bass); Mountaga Koite (drums, congas).
  • Recorded in Livingston, London.
  • SPECIALIST IN ALL STYLES was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album.
  • Senegalese Orchestra Baobab was among the foremost practitioners of the Afro-Cuban style that became popular in its part of the world in the 1970s. Years later, when more electric, rock/pop-influenced music took over Africa, the group disbanded after an unsuccessful attempt at updating their sound. It would oversimplify things to say that the success of their 2001 reunion made these comeback kings seem like Senegal's answer to the Buena Vista Social Club, but it's also hard to deny. Sounding fully invigorated on their reunion album, SPECIALIST IN ALL STYLES, Orchestra Baobab proudly displays the old-school musical values that made them so popular 30 years earlier.
  • The African guitar patterns and vocal lines intersect perfectly with the Cuba-inspired percussion and song structures for a sound that's alternately mellow and busily percolating. Ironically, the album was co-produced by Youssou N'Dour, whose mbalax sound unintentionally helped unseat the Orchestra to begin with, but N'Dour is a longtime admirer, and his passion for the group's music is obvious in the loving care given to reproducing their unique sound on SPECIALIST IN ALL STYLES.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (12/12/02, p.96) - "...This is groove music at once relaxed and unyielding, insostent enough for the dance floor, trance-y enough tp lull an infant..."

Q (12/02, p.67) - Included in Q Magazine's "The 50 Best Albums of 2002."

Q (10/02, p.114) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...The Senegalese veterans bounce back after 20 years and nothing seems to have changed. The sound is the same: echoey late-night, with a Latin undertow and sinuous guitars....with a superb performance from vocalist Assane Mboup..."

Uncut (10/02, p.111) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Spell-binding rhythms and relaxed late-night grooves...A sparkling African gem of a record."

Mojo (Publisher) (1/03, p.75) - Ranked #26 in Mojo's "Best Albums of 2002"

Mojo (Publisher) (10/02) - "...The five vocalists...are Temptation-immaculate..."
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