Under the Baobab Tree

31 01 2007

By Derek Beres

Dave Matthews has been one of biggest promoters (and fans) of African music in the mainstream spotlight – so much so that he founded Ato Records to give voice to interesting musicians from that continent (as well as other global destinations). From the Amandla soundtrack to a recent recording by Vusi Mahlasela, he has been tireless in promoting good music worldwide. One recent project and concert was alongside the legendary Senegalese outfit Orchestra Baobab, a national government-sponsored band in the ’70s that re-emerged in 2001 after being asked to play at reunion concert. Their 1982 album, Pirate’s Choice, caught fire when re-released by Nonesuch and the band, after a 16-year hiatus from performing, was back. Reformed and revitalized, they now tour globally, and their 2002 recording Specialist in All Styles returned them to their rightful throne as being one of West Africa’s great dance bands.

Joined by Phishhead Trey Anastasio, Dave cut a documentary called “Dave and Trey go to Africa.” Part of that video highlights a few moments with Baobab, playing a track from Dave’s solo recording Some Devil:

Of course, you want to see what this band does themselves:

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