I like the sound of drummer Dave Smith ‘s new project Fofoulah, appearing this Sunday afternoon 30th at the Vortex (from 3pm). Dave Smith has worked intensively with the Wolof drummers of Gambia, has completely absorbed their ways of working, and the role music plays in their society in a way few others have been bothered to. Incidentally it was Steve Reich’s attempts to learn African drumming, I once heard him say, which made him aware of his rhythmic shortcomings as a drummer, whaich had been his first choice musical career.
In this project, Dave Smith has Biram Seck (video above- quite a voice! ) a charismatic vocalist from the country which completely surrounds Gambia, Senegal. I imagine this will be raw/intense rather than the easy listening Bristol gig on the video.
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Co-conspirators are Tom Challenger (sax), Johnny Brierley (bass) and Kaw Secka (Sabar), and guitarist Phil Stevenson.
Perhaps not as smooth as the clip above, but, having heard this band in rehearsal quite a bit over the past few months, I can say that it isn't really that raw or intense (certainly not in the way those words might evoke to a jazz audience). Rather, it's very, very groovy, full of space, and I've found it captivating and fresh, and I suspect people might even feel compelled to dance…. Can't recommend it highly enough!