15/11/2022Senegal's Cross-Continental Wau Wau Collectif Unveils Sophomore Full-Length On Sahel Sounds

In 2021, the group's genre-defying debut full-length "Yaral Sa Doom" ('Educate the Young') set the tone for a promising career and no doubt put them on the global map. Now, Senegal's cross-continental Wau Wau Collectif returns to Christopher Kirkley's Sahel Sounds to unveil their sophomore full-length, building on their initial themes and expanding on their stylistically diverse approach, quite literally wedding a plethora of musical hues. Some of the rhythms to be found on "Mariage" date back to 2018, when Swedish musician and producer Karl Jonas Winqvist first visitied the small Senegalese fishing village turned bohemian cultural hub, Toubab Dialaw/Dialo. Alongside Senegalese multi-instrumentalist and studio engineer Arouna Kane, the two began recording local musicians, percussionists, poets and beat makers and eventually the Wau Wau Collectif began to take shape. 

"Mariage" continues their groundbreaking, inclusive take on West African musical traditions, seamlessly incorporating a wide array of outernational influences to create a cohesive whole, open to experimentation yet equally melodic and spiritually balanced – not trying to be, just being: "Joyful children’s songs collide with fuzzy guitar solos and thumping hip-hop beats. Shimmering synths lift off from the plunky percussion of the balafon and versatile sounds of the 22-string kora. Familiar voices from the first album return with more explicitly political lyrics, while the music feels both rhythmically dense and sonically weightless, flowing from one spellbinding moment to the next." Remaining true to their original mission of educating the youth and addressing current socio-political issues in the country, this album is furthermore dedicated to the memory of flute player Ousmane Bah, who sadly passed away after the its completion. 

Exploratory in nature, “Mariage” takes listeners to new heights, along dazzling arrangements and exquisite musicianship to create an absolutely timeless sonic aesthetic that is easy on the ear and soothing to the soul.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom