WORLD CIRCUIT RECORDS REISSUES ORCHESTRA BAOBAB’S ACCLAIMED
SPECIALIST IN ALL STYLES IN CELEBRATION
OF 50TH ANNIVERSARY

AVAILABLE TODAY ON VINYL FOR THE
FIRST TIME EVER

In celebration of the group’s 50th anniversary, acclaimed Senegalese group Orchestra Baobab is reissuing their 2002 comeback album Specialist In All Styles via World Circuit Records. Out today, the record is now available on vinyl for the first time ever. Order the LP HERE.

The reissue follows the sudden passing of one of the band’s leaders and co-founders, Balla Sidibé, in early August at the age of 78.

Specialist was the first album by the full group since 1982’s legendary Pirates Choice, a holy grail for African music fans. Recorded at London’s Livingston Studios in just ten days and produced by World Circuit’s Nick Gold with Youssou N’Dour, Specialist In All Styles is a definitive illustration of Baobab’s Afro-Latin magic, introducing new material and reinventing some of the old tunes that made them famous.

The record features Baobab’s sublime rhythm section and two of the most distinctive sounds in African music: Barthélemy Attisso’s extraordinary guitar and Issa Cissokho’s atmospheric sax. The band’s five unique lead singers, each with their own contrasting but complementary styles, are joined on the song “Hommage à Tonton Ferrer” by special guests Buena Vista Social Club star Ibrahim Ferrer and Youssou N’Dour.

Adored both at home in Senegal and across the world, Baobab occupy a special place in the history of African music. Their epic story begins in the heart of Dakar’s Medina in the 1960s and extends across the world and into the 21st century, featuring a brilliant assembly of diverse musical personalities and encompassing a unique blend of Afro-Latin styles, international pop, West African griot music, and an after-dark West African nightclub ambience of lilting, mellifluous rhythms.

At the start of 1970, a new fashionable venue, Club Baobab, opened its doors in Dakar’s European district. Well known as a hangout for those with status and power, the club was built around a baobab tree, and to fire up its musical roster, its well-connected owners poached famed Star Band singers Balla Sidibe, Rudy Gomis and guitarist Barthelemy Attisso. Bassist Charlie Ndiaye and percussionist Mountaga Koite soon followed, joined by rhythm guitarist Latfi Ben Jelloun, Nigerian clarinet player Peter Udo, and veteran griot singer Laye Mboup.

With that, the stage was set for Orchestra Baobab to set the tempo for a new era of modern Senegalese and African music. Combining pop, soul and traditional music from across Senegal and beyond, Orchestra Baobab quickly developed a distinctive raft of styles that reflected the cultural mix and the strong musical personalities of its members. Balla and Rudy hailed from Senegal’s culturally rich Casamance, saxophonist Issa Cissokho from Mali, and Latfi from Morocco. Guitarist Attisso—the lawyer-turned-guitarist whose arpeggio runs would become one of the band’s scintillating trademarks—came from Togo, but what bound these myriad elements as tight as a drum skin was a strong Cuban influence, introduced to Senegal by sailors flowing in and out of the Port of Dakar.

Over the next decade, Orchestra Baobab kept evolving with an ever-changing lineup of members and released a number of classic records along the way.

However, by the end of 1983 Baobab had unofficially disbanded, and it wasn’t until Nick Gold and Youssou N’Dour encouraged the group to reform 15 long years later that Orchestra Baobab rose again at their now-famous London Barbican gig in 2001 and received a standing ovation that seemed to go on forever.

As the new century advanced, Baobab’s distinctive heartbeat could be heard once again on 2002’s seductive Specialist In All Styles, and the even more fully realized, 2007’s Made In Dakar.

Ten years on, and Baobab’s lineup has continued to evolve, with some sad departures and some exciting new additions over the past decade. Under the great Balla Sidibé’s leadership, their critically acclaimed 2017 LP Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng revisited old territories and broke new ground for these beloved West African veterans, and since its release, they have continued to tour worldwide, bringing their rich and much-loved sound to new and longtime fans alike.  

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT JOE COHEN, KRISTA WILLIAMS OR CARLA SACKS AT SACKS & CO., 212.741.1000

 

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