Fofoulah – Bene Bop
(LOOP1016. CD Review by Chris Parker)
‘Senegalese voice and West African rhythms with dub basslines, sci-fi synths, raw guitars and intense grooves’ are what’s promised from this album, and – as anyone who heard Fofoulah’s live shows at the Olympics or the subsequent LJF will attest – the band delivers exactly this beguiling combination of sounds and approaches.
Under the searing vocals of Biram Seck (whose voice is reminiscent of that of Youssou N’Dour on such early classics as Immigrés), guitarist Phil Stevenson, tenor player Tom Challenger, bassist Johnny Brierley, percussionist Kaw Secka and drummer Dave Smith produce a bubbling, seething stew of subtle but emphatic percussive chatter, stinging guitar work and spare, telling saxophone, augmented (‘My Heart’) by cellist Heather Truesdall and occasional keyboard player (and producer) Matt Calvert.
Fierce scrabbles (‘Balou Nala’) are interspersed with skilfully arranged mélanges of rolling rhythms and affecting declamatory vocals to great effect on this half-hour EP, but the band should ideally be experienced live on its forthcoming 10-date UK tour (more information HERE), one date of which (London’s Rich Mix, 7 June) is a launch.