Guelewar Band Of Banjul – Warteef Jigeen

Guelewar Band Of Banjul – Warteef Jigeen

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The Guelewar Band of Banjul are a band quite unlike any other ‘ an explosive mix of soul and funk with local rhythms like Boogaraboo and Ndaga combined with a defiant insistence on singing in their local language, Wolof. They certainly blew a young Youssou N’dour away. He cites them as his biggest influence. Warteef Jigeen marks the point the band found its groove. The title track sets the tone early with parping horns and psychedelic guitar licks. ‘N.T.C. The Gambia’ and ‘Jilana’ seamlessly blend traditional percussion and plaintive sax. ‘Leen Te Koun’ and ‘President Diawara’ showcase some of the freakiest synth ever to come out of West Africa. It was Laye Ngom’s decision as bandleader to draft in his cousin as singer that elevates Warteef Jigeen. Moussa Ngom had paid his dues singing at traditional circumcision ceremonies and his rough, expressive vocals bring a level of melancholy and intensity to the album. It’s a melancholy and intensity that can only come from years of watching young boys take this painful journey to Gambian manhood, a journey, in a way, that Guelewar Band Of Banjul made on Warteef Jigeen. – Peter Moore