Copyright ©2005 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Senegal's Thione Seck is one of the greatest singers in Africa. His career extends from the grand ceremony of West African praise singing to the fiery pop music that animates nightlife in the capital of Senegal, Dakar. Seck's new album moves beyond all that to embrace Egyptian orchestral music and India's Bollywood sound. Banning Eyre has a review of the CD "Orientation."

BANNING EYRE reporting:

When it comes to sheer vocal fireworks, Thione Seck is as good as it gets.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. THIONE SECK: (Singing in foreign language)

EYRE: At first blush, Thione Seck's "Orientation" may remind listeners of another recent Senegalese release. Last year Afro-pop icon Youssou N'Dour broke form to record with the Cairo Orchestra and won a Grammy for his album "Egypt." But "Orientation" is no knockoff of "Egypt." To start with, both projects began in 1999 and were years in the making, and both are rich with creative idiosyncrasies. Seck's exploration of Bollywood is particularly intriguing. We don't think of Indian music as having much influence in Africa, but Seck has adored it all his life, and here he gets his chance to embrace it artistically.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. SECK: (Singing in foreign language)

EYRE: The arrangement on this album is full of delightful surprises. At times Seck bends to Arabic or Indian aesthetics, then out of the blue he'll shift to an African 6/8 rhythm or unleash the gale-force soul cry of a savanna praise singer.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. SECK: (Singing in foreign language)

EYRE: Seck definitely goes in for the big refrain, and there's a breathtaking grandiosity to some of these tracks. This one says `Celebrity brings no peace to those who possess it, only jealousy, maliciousness and slander.'

(Soundbite of song)

Backup Singers: (Singing in foreign language)

Mr. SECK: (Singing in foreign language)

Backup Singers: (Singing in foreign language)

Mr. SECK: (Singing in foreign language)

EYRE: After so many years of African singers making connections with rock, jazz, soul, funk, blues and hip-hop, it's refreshing to see some of them looking east for a change. If this turns out to be a trend, Thione Seck's "Orientation" will surely go down as a watershed moment.

SIEGEL: Thione Seck's latest album is called "Orientation." Our reviewer is Banning Eyre.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. SECK: (Singing in foreign language)

Backup Singers: (Singing in foreign language)

MICHELE NORRIS (Host): You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: