Welcome to Dallam-Dougou, a land where West African griot, jazz and Hungarian-infused musicians can all groove together. The premier CD of Dallam-Dougou is called New Destiny, and it covers a lot of ground. This is world dance music, ranging from the proudly joyous track called 'Oy yoy yoy' to a range of Transylvanian party rhythms to a soulful mid-tempo West Africa groove with a baroque Courante twist. Most of the nine tracks are original compositions by bandleader Raul Rothblatt, but the border between purely traditional and boldly original ends up being irrelevant. The title track honors the Kouyate family-the most prestigious of the musicians/historians known as griots who have made West Africa famous for it's stunningly beautiful music-by using one of their traditional rhythms, and this is the basis for a vocal improvisation by Abdoulaye Diobate on a griot melody, but the arrangement is completely original and the orchestration is breaks from all Afro-beat music by using a lush and driving string-based sound. The first few seconds of the CD introduce all the elements to come: an energetic Hungarian Gypsy riff lays the groundwork for the rest of the rhythm, and it is quickly joined by acoustic bass and drums. Then comes a clarinet solo that is wild but never loses the sense of dance. Then comes a balafon (the West African ancestor to the xylophone) who leads the group the main melody, which is lyrical, upbeat and not afraid to meander. But this is only one way to listen to this. You could focus on the ethnographic elements, and marvel in the fact that the tune is a Guinean and jazz interpretation of a rhythm inspired by the Hungarian Roma (a.k.a. Gypsy) band from Szazcsavas in Transylvania who are interpreting a Turkish rhythm. Or maybe you just like the vibe. The second track is a traditional Romanian suite from Transylvania. The mood is slow and elegiac with an expressive alto sax solo over an enveloping string foundation. After luxuriating in the slow section, the piece moves to a faster dance rhythm called an învirtîta. This is the only track that is traditional in both it's melody and arrangement, and like much of the music from this region, there are no drums so the rhythmic drive comes from the bass instrument. 'The Romanian Învirtita is my favorite rhythm,' explains Raul, 'and it took restraint to only have one on this CD.' The title track of the CD is New Destiny and this track goes to the heart of the meaning of the CD. The performance shines with Malian griot Abdoulaye Dioubate at his best. He sings in Malinke about the trip that Raul Rothblatt and Abou Sylla made to the Sosso Bala, the oldest xylophone in the world. This 13th-century instrument was once owned by Sundiata, the greatest emperor in West African history, and the Kouyate family has preserving it and playing it for the last 800 years. Seeing this instrument made a great impression on Raul, and it reaffirmed his belief that even though there is destruction all around, we can take control of our future. Part of the profits of the CD go to the Kouyate family and to Niagassola, the town that houses the Sosso Bala. Niagassola is quite poor, which is in Guinea quite close to the border with Mali, and only has three water pumps for a few hundred people. The elected officers of Dallam-Dougou are: * Raul Rothblatt (cello & bass), mayor and groundskeeper * Abou Sylla (balafon, a West African marimba), ambassador to Guinea and America, Director of Verbal Communications * Kalman 'Ocsi' Magyar, Esquire (fiddle & kontra), ambassador to New Jersey and Transylvania, sub-assistant to Csenge * Avram Fefer (clarinet & alto sax), ambassador to jazzworld, Director of Philosophy and Propaganda * Sylvain Leroux (flutes), ambassador to Fouta Djallon, Colonel of Mande forces in New York * Steve Espinola (keyboards), ambassador to FunkyFolkSingerWorld * Tsafrir Lichtenstein (drums), Master of the Positive Attitude.
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