Royal Band de Thiès – Kadior Demb

Adamantios Kafetzis is an avid collector of African music. He traveled to Senegal many times in the last 10 years, searching for vintage vinyl and contemporary sounds while he educated himself in Senegalese/African music. After a while he decided to form Teranga Beat as a record 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 Band de Thiès which was never properly released when it was recorded back in 1979.

James Gadiaga formed the Royal Band de Thiès back in 1972 and called up Secka (a.k.a Adama Seck) to sing with the group. The nine-piece band performed all over Senegal, including at the Sangomar Club where the owner, Moussa Diallo, proposed to do a recording with the band in 1979. Gadiaga and Secka were the only singers at the time so they brought in Gora Mbaye and Mbaye Fall to assist with the vocals. Back then the band mostly performed the “Variétés” as mbalax wasn’t as popular yet. Their sound consisted of Rhythm & Blues with a bit of reggae, until they later developed their own salsa-mbalax style.

Royal Band de Thiès recorded Kadior Demb live with two microphones. The band laid down eleven tracks that featured a roots-based mbalax style that also mixed in jazz and funk. The dynamic percussion combined with powerful horns and distorted guitar creates an incredible whirlwind of sound. This record really cooks and while it was released on cassette, this is the first time it has seen a proper vinyl release, 33 years after it was recorded. The LP/CD release features extensive liner notes which details the history of Royal Band de Thiès as well as the careers of Gadiaga and Secka. The album comes out September 10th on Teranga Beat. Don’t miss another terrific release from this excellent label. Have a listen to “Guene-Gui Dek” to get a taste of Royal Band de Thiès. Although this song is not on Kadior Demb, it will give you a taste for the band.

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