Editors’ Notes After releasing a clutch of remarkable records that explored and reinterpreted the classic sounds of West African pop music, the French Afrobeat ensemble Fanga embarked on a full-length collaboration with Moroccan musician Maalem Abdallah Guinea. (The band first encountered Guinea performing at 2011's Detours Du Monde festival.) Guinea is a master of the guembri, a three-stringed lute with an elastic, bass-heavy sound characteristic of Gnawa music, a traditional form of Islamic devotional song noted for its trance-like qualities. With its meandering incantations and long-form improvising, Gnawa might not seem a natural match for Fanga’s punchy Afro-funk, yet Fangnawa Experience is a surprisingly successful collaboration. Most of these songs stretch well past eight minutes, while the hypnotic album opener “Noble Tree” and the gently loping “Gnawi” each approach 15 minutes. This free-flowing approach suits both Fanga and Guinea, letting Fanga push the boundaries of Afrobeat and giving Guinea an exciting new context in which to present traditional Gnawa forms.

SONG
Noble Tree
1
14:19
 
Gnawi
2
12:46
 
Kelen
3
9:39
 
Dounya
4
3:37
 
Kononi
5
9:28
 
Wouarri
6
9:15
 

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