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Wau Wau Collectif - Yaral Sa Doom Music Album Reviews

Wau Wau Collectif - Yaral Sa Doom Music Album Reviews
Senegal’s Arouna Kane and Sweden’s Karl Jonas Winqvist, plus a host of musicians on two continents, spin improv sessions and long-distance overdubs into airy, dreamlike music as generous as it is joyous.

It takes less than a minute for Yaral Sa Doom to begin levitating. Multi-instrumentalist Arouna Kane and producer Karl Jonas Winqvist ground their collaborative effort in the playing of Kane’s Senegalese countrymen and contributions from Winqvist’s fellow Swedes, but in their production, the duo massage guitar, hand drums, sax, and flute until each is pliable, soft, and almost putty-like, molding the instrumentation to tissue-thin synths and richly reverbed vocals. Everything is so light, so wispy, it sometimes seems like a decent wind—or just a little mild cynicism—might blow the whole thing away. Instead, Yaral Sa Doom holds its ground, its extreme sweetness balanced by Winqvist and Kane’s exploratory ethos.

The project came together when Winqvist made a trip to Toubab Dialaw, a former fishing village an hour down the coast from Dakar that’s now home to a thriving arts community. Over the course of several weeks, he befriended local musicians, including Kane, and recorded a few improv sessions. Back home in Sweden, Winqvist enlisted friends to augment the tapes with sax, keys, and more, then passed the files back and forth over WhatsApp with Kane, and the two men refashioned the pieces into a fluid fugue of a set. Their dub-like edits—sliding a track’s levels around the bass, winding up a spoken vocal with reverb and delay—unify two very different styles of music; neither the Senegalese nor the Swedes ever seem to be in total control of the record, but instead their contributions work off of one another. This sense of cooperation elicits what is at times an almost childlike joy in these songs, and ensures that, for all its starry-eyed wonder, Yaral Sa Doom stays on the right side of naivete.

Of course, if the notion of a white European parachuting into Africa and emerging with a sample pack to manipulate and peddle gives you pause—well, it should. The history of the Western music industry’s engagement with African musicians is littered with appropriation, extreme economic exploitation, and general confusion, even among well-meaning artists. Sahel Sounds, which in addition to Yaral Sa Doom is responsible for bringing Mdou Moctar and Les Filles de Illighadad to North American and European audiences, has distinguished itself by forfeiting exclusive rights to the music it releases and splitting the take 50/50 with artists. Wau Wau Collectif seem to slice up the aesthetic pie in a similar way: All of the artists who appear on this album are credited by name, as are the songwriters, while Winqvist and Kane’s exchanges ensured that Senegalese hands helped to form the album’s overall shape. These are crucial details to consider any time a European or North American artist brings a microphone to Africa, but they feel especially pertinent in Yaral Sa Doom’s case, where inequity could easily be masked by the overwhelming kindness that characterizes the album.

Indeed, generosity is Yaral Sa Doom’s guiding virtue, even as its singers address Senegal’s social ills (the album’s title is a Wolof phrase that means “educate the young”). The songs here seem to drift into existence, emerging from mists of synth and stepping into a rosy sunrise hush. Album standout “Thiante” foregrounds Jango Diabaté’s bejeweled xalam, surrounding it with sympathetic puffs of flute as it nestles into a Naugahyde keyboard line that echoes the Cure’s “Close to Me.” Winqvist divebombs the beach jazz of “Si Tu Savais Juste” with a toy synth while Ndongo Faye’s steady drumming chops Henry Moore Selder’s organ line into Bitches Brew hash. Elsewhere, when Winqvist’s Omnichord gasps with delight at Kane’s gentle vocals, you don’t need to know the song is called “Salamaleikoum” to feel welcomed by it.

That hospitality is also evident in Kane and Winqvist’s attention to texture. The Swede chants us into the album, whispering chk-chk percussion like he’s singing a ska lullaby, and Andreas Söderström’s ukulele is mic’d so close, the sound of the pick hitting the strings is louder than the strings themselves. These little sounds draw you in, so when the song breaks into a wider vista, you can’t help but be awestruck by the view. Winqvist and Kane drown what sounds like a guitar in hiss in “Mouhamodou Lo and His Children,” making the song feel like it’s set in a sunken Polynesia. Even the way the rippling tone of Kane’s voice is treated with delay in the opening moments of “Riddim Rek Ya Niouy Mom” puts the focus on its grain as much as the words he’s saying.

The album’s inverted priorities—mood over structure, micro over macro—make it feel more like a collection of contemplations than proper songs, which is to its abundant credit. At times the construction of Yaral Sa Doom resembles that of Theseus’ ship, with new elements replacing what’s already been established as we coast through time. It’s a trick whose effects are often genuinely moving, as when Ousmane Ba’s flute and Kane’s bass fall into sync on closer “Legui Legui,” only to be sent away while Annarella Sörlin’s own flute and Lars Fredrik Swahn’s piano trace one another’s lines from across the stage. When Ba leads the ensemble back into the center of the circle, they emerge with the grace of an aging star being ushered out for one last curtain call.

The music that Winqvist, Kane, Ba, Diabaté, and the others made in their Toubab Dialaw improvisations is uniformly gorgeous and brimming with mutual pleasure, and Yaral Sa Doom’s production frames those sessions as a beautiful dream. The gleeful disbelief, the happy hunch that things are not as they usually are, dizzies up the record just a bit, pulling it slightly out of time and space—all while staying close enough to terra firma to not lose sight of where it came from.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Wau Wau Collectif - Yaral Sa Doom Music Album Reviews Wau Wau Collectif - Yaral Sa Doom Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 Rating: 5

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