Djembe & Mande Music Page/Review Section(last revision 02/11/99)
TITLE: NIGHT SKY IN SINE SALOUM ARTIST: YANDÉ CODOU SÈNE FORMAT: CD COMPANY: SHANACHIE NUMBER: 64085
Yande Codou Sene is a supremely gifted singer. Born in Sine Saloum, the cradle of Serer culture in central Senegal, she was the favorite singer of Leopold Senghor, the famous Senagalese poet/statesman and Youssour N'Dour says freely that Yandé Codou Sène has long been his idol. This two CD demonstrate convincing that this status is amply deserved.
Only in recent years has Yande Codou Sene, who is now in her sixties, been recorded. Her voice is a technically marvelous instrument with great sustain and rich overtones and she uses it to convey fervent emotion rather than facile sentimentality. Her improvising is not quite as adventurous as that of Malian jelimusolou, such as Ami Koita or Tata Bambo Kouyate, but every phrase that emerges from Yande Codou Sene's throat is a musical and soulful gem.
On this CD her singing is accompanied by excellent drumming (mostly sabar and tama) by Mame Less Thioune, Pape Fall and Abdou Less, some judiciously placed balafon, kora, riti (violin) or xalam (cousin to the ngoni) and mesmerizing responses from the chorus. Although Yande is clearly the featured performer, the drummers support her singing with sensuous, swinging grooves. And if you listen below the call and response, you will hear some excellent rhythmic interplay among the percussionists. The drummers do get to stretch out on several occasions, especially on "The Dream", an instrumental, that features an extended melodic dialogue between several drums