Idrissa Diop: An Afro-Latin Anthem In "Bamba," an infectious chorus hits over joyous horns and a grinding rhythm that never lets up.
NPR logo

Diamonoye Tiopité

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/146595062/146581442" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Idrissa Diop: An Afro-Latin Anthem

Review

Idrissa Diop: An Afro-Latin Anthem

Diamonoye Tiopité

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/146595062/146581442" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

In Idrissa Diop's "Bamba," an infectious chorus hits over joyous horns and a grinding rhythm that seems light while never letting up. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the artist

In Idrissa Diop's "Bamba," an infectious chorus hits over joyous horns and a grinding rhythm that seems light while never letting up.

Courtesy of the artist

Thursday's Pick

Song: "Bamba"

Artist: Idrissa Diop

CD: Diamonoye Tiopité

Genre: World

Idrissa Diop began his career in Dakar, where he was active between the late '60s and mid-'70s before departing to France, like many African musicians before him. During that time, he served as a crucial link to the time when Cuban records began making their way to Senegal after WWII. A dozen recordings from between 1968 and 1975 form a recent collection called Diamonoye Tiopité — issued by Teranga Beat, a new African-music reissue label.

Some of the material — in particular a couple cuts from 1975 in the album's second half — is previously unreleased, though it's likely that most Americans are still hearing Diop for the first time. But "Bamba," the title track from a 1975 album by the Diop-led SAHEL, was immensely popular: Diop says in Diamonoye Tiopité's liner notes, "I couldn't get out of my house. Everybody was singing, 'Touba Touba!' I was going out with my bodyguards."

It's not hard to hear why. That chorus of "Touba Touba Touba Touba" hits over joyous horns and a grinding, clipping rhythm that seems light while never letting up. It was a fusion — the grace of older Latin music giving some lift to the swift-punching, younger-sounding mbalax — that today sounds seamless.