Ouled Bambara: Portraits of Gnawa

By: Dennis Cook

In the Western World there's a strong sense of music as product, but elsewhere on the globe music serves a more day-to-day importance. Such is the case with Gnawa music, which takes religious music and infuses it with a chattering, outré kind of funkiness, and is often performed with vibrant dancing accompaniment. This seductive North African and sub-Saharan genre has rarely had a better introduction than Ouled Bambara (released October 20 on Twos & Fews/Drag City), nine perfect yet interestingly different examples of the genre (plus a captivating accompanying DVD). It doesn't take a translator to get the strong feeling and potential release of this music (though the well-written liner notes for this "symbolic language for negotiating life's disparities" offer insight). An amazing, perhaps contradictory sense of otherness and immediate familiarity permeates this anthology, which might be a touch healing on top of being a swell listen.

JamBase | Entranced
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 11/4/09]

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!

You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!



To read comments and participate in this story, please visit the Articles forum »