Carlou D is an other talented artist to emerge from the spiritually charged and musically charmed world of Senegal’s Baye Fall community. This pleasingly varied set of eleven songs, begins with elegant pride. The song “Sam Fall” juxtaposes acoustic guitar and kora with the crack of sabar drums and call-and-response Baye Fall chanting. Near the end of the song, Carlou shifts to a powerful falsetto, an original touch—and there are many others here as well. Brooding bursts of Mande guitar punctuate “Fi Ma Diar,” a cautionary account of the deadly sea-bound exodus of Senegalese seeking better lives in Europe. Youssou N’Dour joins in for a torch song about Goree island, the famous point of departure for slaves bound for the New World. “Ila Touba” a spirited, mbalax-tinged celebration of Baye Fall life, is a high point, pulsating with dance energy realized in a largely acoustic sound scape.
The selection here ranges from spare ballads like “Namenala,” to scintillating roots pop numbers like the righteous and tuneful “Sen Regal.” “Yaaboyo” bears resemblance to a Malian wassoulou groove, with nimble, searing guitar, simmering percussion and tasty riffs on traditional lute and kora. The CD ends as it begins in the pulsating trance and melodious spell of Baye Fall passion. In all, a powerful amalgam of brisk musicality and uniquely African reverence.