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Album Review

Orchestre Régional De Mopti – “Best of The First Bienniale of Arts and Culture for the Young (1970), The” – [Mississippi Records]

Art Crimes   3/27/2012   12-inch, International

Although packaged and described in such a way as to suggest that the Orchestre Regional de Mopti was some sort of academic cultural exercise, what you actually hear is more along the lines of Orchestre Baobab: a large Malian dance band with some hints of Cuban rhythms (their earlier name, Bani Jazz, was perhaps more appropriate). The cover displays the group floating along Mopti in a lengthy boat, but they don’t just wear those instruments for the PR shot; there is pretty hypnotic guitar and bass work throughout the LP with horns and flute on top and a varied percussion section. All the tracks feature vocals (the last track features a female vocalist). The second track is a live recording. No band members are identified in the liner notes other than the bandleader Sorry Bamba, who would rename the group once again as the Kanaga Orchestra in the 1970s (KFJC also has Sorry Bamba’s LP “Volume One 1970-1979” which overlaps with this one slightly). ((( crimes )))

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