Assiko Golden Band De Grand Yoff - Magg Tekki LP
Assiko Golden Band de Grand Yoff is the sprawling drum collective tearing up Dakar's nightlife scene. Senegalese poet Djiby Ly (Wau Wau Collectif) is backed by fourteen different percussive instruments plus horns, winds, balafon, and the occasional accordion, combining Count Ossie's spiritually elevated polyrhythms with Fela Kuti's orchestra and Tony Allen's groove.
Based in the impoverished neighborhood of Grand Yoff and operating as a mutual aid group for the larger community, the band builds its songs on ancient rhythms passed on from Senegal, Cameroon and the infamous Gorée Island. In both Wolof and French, Djiby preaches a message of uplift and cooperation rooted in the Sufi teachings of the Mouride Brotherhood, as well as Christianity and animist religions. "Senegal, my life my joy" is the call and response chanted over cascading, infinitely layered drum patterns on opener "La Musique Du Cœur."
"We build our own country" the band proclaims in Wolof on "Xarritt."
For twenty years and across three generations of band members, Assiko have played raucous all-night jams at weddings, secret parties, and political rallies. Grainy cellphone footage of their live shows have spread online. But this is their first album, the result of a collaboration with Swedish musician and archivist Karl-Jonas Winqvist (Sing A Song Fighter), who met the band in Dakar in 2018 and facilitated recording sessions and overdubs via Whatsapp (no small feat with so many musicians). This is vital, exciting and innovative music, alive with energy and purpose, a band rooted in a very specific community but speaking to the world.