Karantamba – Ndigal

Another day of new releases and we have a gem from Gambia. Karantamba is a project by Bai Janha aka “Sweet Fingers.” Composer, arranger, guitar player of Guelewar & Ifang Bondi, Bai Janha is undisputedly the most important musician to have come from Gambia. Band leader of the groups Black Star, Whales Band, Fabulous Eagles & Supreme Eagles, founder of the group Alligators who later became the Guellewar, Bai created a unique psychedelic sound in Sene-Gambia, mixing traditional compositions with funk and soul. Karantamba was the last band Bai Janha put together and it focused on being a school for young musicians. This is a previously unreleased recording made in Thiès (Senegal) at the Sangomar Club in August 1984. Thanks to Teranga Beat, this amazing album is finally seeing the light of day. The double gatefold LP / CD contains a vivid history of Bai Janha’s career as well as an array of photographs.

Bai Janha is a talented and imaginative lead guitarist, a highly original composer song writer, arranger and unquestionably a master player of the guitar and Gambia’s leading guitarist. It is no wonder that he recorded this album live in Senegal to get his music with extended guitar workouts out into the public. Heavy grooves and live percussion give this record a timeless feel. In the 60’s and early 70’s West Africa (Senegal, Mali, Gambia & Guinea), was dominated by Latin American, Cuban, Congolese, rock ‘n’ roll, r&b and Western music. Bai and his group were among the first to incorporate and popularize authentic Gambian music, in particular kora & mbalax music. Bai & his group the Super Alligators together with the Super Eagles were the pioneers and innovators of mbalax & afro-manding sounds, these forms being the roots of Sene-Gambia & Mali’s musical traditions. The sound couldn’t be argued with and these more authentic styles became popular across Western Africa. Thanks to excellent reissues like these we get the chance to hear some of these grooves for the first time. Listen to “Satay Muso” below and you will hear why Bai Janha is such a legend.

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  1. […] label and we’re glad he did. We featured another Teranga Beat release, Karantamba’s Ndigal, back in March. This time around, Teranga Beat has released a classic set of music from the Royal […]

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