Mdungu – Afro What?

One of the year’s undisputed highlights so far. A joy from beginning to end. Diverse, funky, challenging and fresh

This album of Dutch-based musicians drawn from Holland and West Africa, will get attention because of the involvement of Justin Adams, whose work with Tinariwen, Soul Science and Robert Plant has been critically-acclaimed and popular in equal measure.
It’s a lucky break for the band and for anyone who loves jazz and African music. These ten tracks go from hard honking sax Afrobeat numbers to gentler guitar-driven pieces of quiet beauty and there is a sense that although there is fusioning going on, it is not the forced, bottom denominator stuff that quickly tires, it is the result of a band playing together for a number of years and getting each other’s musical ideas. Perhaps the quality of the album lies on the cutting room floor. It is the stuff that was tried and ultimately rejected over the years that marks out what is left as the real thing.
There are no duds on this album and I only hope that if this album gets the attention it deserves, the band will get an unreasonably long time to develop a follow up.

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