Time for a serious music-dance break this evening. If you have never heard of the West African group, Africando, I hope you will check out the two videos I have posted below. With Cuban music as its base (and yes, the roots of Cuban music are based in Africa) and melodies sung variously in French, Spanish, Wolof, and Malinke, a perfect marriage of great dance music is formed.
The beginnings of Africando start with a young Malian flautist by the name of Boncana Maiga who was sent by his government to study Cuban music in Havana at the Alejandro Garcia Caturla Conservatory. After his training, he returned to Mali with a Cuban wife and then moved to the Ivory Coast to direct a music conservatory there.
In the early 1990’s Maiga and producer Ibrahima Sylla assembled musicians and singers to form the group Africando in Dakkar, Senegal in 1993. The initial singers were Senegalese vocalists: Pap Seck, Medoune Diallo, and Nicolas Manheim. Seck died in 1995. In the late 1990’s, three other singers were added Gnossass Pedro (Benin) and Sekou Ba Bambino Diabete (Guinea) and Ronnie Baro (Cuba). Pedro died in 2004. Backed by New-York-based crack musicians, Africando has issued seven albums in 15 years– all terrific.
The first video is a performance by Africando at the Afro-Latino festival in Bree, Belgium in June 2007. The second video is an Africando performance of one of their most famous songs, “Yay Boy,” supplemented by a four couple dance team that burns up the stage! Enjoy and then get back to the revolution.