10 Songs, 53 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

An essential set, Absa Gueye Vol. 1 collects some of the earliest recordings of the seminal Senegalese pop outfit Étoile de Dakar, whose career oversaw a major shift in Senegalese music, away from the Afro-Cuban influenced rumba, soukous, and pachanga styles of ‘70s-era outfits like the Orchestre Baobab and toward a more modern, heavily percussive style known as Mbalax. The group also launched the career of singer and percussionist Youssou N’Dour, who'd soon achieve international stardom for his arrestingly expressive tenor and his effortless fusion of Senegalese forms with Latin American and Western influences. The recordings collected on Absa Gueye include some of N’Dour’s most virtuosic early performances, including “Thiely,” a Wolof-language love ballad that matches N’Dour’s penetrating vocals with some truly psychedelic guitar work from Jimi Mbaye. During this period, Etoile de Dakar was a cohesive, collaborative unit, and with remarkable contributions from members like vocalists El Hadji Faye and Eric M’Backe N’Doye and guitarists Badou N’Diaye and Jimi Mbaye.

EDITORS’ NOTES

An essential set, Absa Gueye Vol. 1 collects some of the earliest recordings of the seminal Senegalese pop outfit Étoile de Dakar, whose career oversaw a major shift in Senegalese music, away from the Afro-Cuban influenced rumba, soukous, and pachanga styles of ‘70s-era outfits like the Orchestre Baobab and toward a more modern, heavily percussive style known as Mbalax. The group also launched the career of singer and percussionist Youssou N’Dour, who'd soon achieve international stardom for his arrestingly expressive tenor and his effortless fusion of Senegalese forms with Latin American and Western influences. The recordings collected on Absa Gueye include some of N’Dour’s most virtuosic early performances, including “Thiely,” a Wolof-language love ballad that matches N’Dour’s penetrating vocals with some truly psychedelic guitar work from Jimi Mbaye. During this period, Etoile de Dakar was a cohesive, collaborative unit, and with remarkable contributions from members like vocalists El Hadji Faye and Eric M’Backe N’Doye and guitarists Badou N’Diaye and Jimi Mbaye.

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About Étoile de Dakar

Etoile De Dakar was one of the most influential bands to come out of Senegal. Best known for its work with vocalist Yassour N'Dour, a member from 1975 to 1978, the group created a Latin-tinged style of African pop that influenced such western artists as Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon and David Byrne.

The roots of the Etoile De Dakar were planted in 1960 when Ibra Kasse, owner of the Miami Club in Dakar, assembled members of two bands -- Guinea Band De Dakar and Star Band De Senui -- and created a supergroup, known initially as The Star Band. Although it reached its apex with the arrival of N'Dour in 1975, The Star Band splintered three years later when several members left with N'Dour to form Etoile De Dakar. Relocating to Paris in 1983, the group changed its name to Super Etoile. ~ Craig Harris

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