Magg Tekki

21/11/2023Senegalese Drum Collective Assiko Golden Band de Grand Yoff Releases Its First-Ever LP On Mississippi Records

Drums, drums, drums, and a few more drums. "For two decades and across three generations of band members," the Assiko Golden Band has been tearing up the suburban nightlife scene of Dakar. Hailing from "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." Spreading their percussive rhetoric, led by Senegalese poet Djiby Ly (of Wau Wau Collectif fame) preaching in both Wolof and French alongside a host of singers, this pulsating ensemble does a little bit of everything, blending influences as diverse as "Count Ossie's spiritually elevated polyrhythms with Fela Kuti's orchestra and Tony Allen's groove," adding elements from the Caribbean and occasionally the call-and-response energy of a "holler gang playing in a Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans."

It may come as a surprise then, that despite the group's longstanding local repute, "Magg Tekki" is in fact their first-ever longplayer. Released on Mississippi Records in close collaboration with Sing a Song Fighter (the imprint of Swedish musician and archivist Karl-Jonas Winqvist, whom you may remember from his involvement on Kahanga 'Vumbi' Dekula's "Congo Guitar" LP), this rollicking, multi-layered, ten-track offering is an absolute showstopper. Well accustomed to dominating "raucous all-night jams at weddings, secret parties, and [even] political rallies," this particular collection of tracks is infectiously uplifting, enveloping messages "rooted in the Sufi teachings of the Mouride Brotherhood, as well as Christianity and animist religions" in thumping drum patterns and wonderfully rampant, precisely arranged musical décor stemming from the likes of balafon, flute, saxophone, kora, accordion, bells and rattles.

Like rolling waves crashing onto the shore, the rhythmical charges are interspersed with meditative pauses, short breathers beckoning listeners to gather their senses before becoming immersed in yet another gorgeously cascading melee. This album has so much to offer it'll keep you engaged from start to finish, performed by a seasoned outfit instinctively playing off each other and exhibiting a rare, homegrown chemistry made possible only by years of experience. "Magg Tekki", in short, is one heck of a celebration!

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom