Djibi Mamadou
CD Review by Mark Witner / 9/2005

Track listing
1. Djibi (Children) 2. Senegal (My Country) 3. Solo Lemme (My Roots) 4. Sweet Susan (Love)
5. Afrique (My Continent) 6. Xarit (Friendship) 7. Bailar (Life) 8. Allah (God)

Label: Ringo Studio

I first heard Mamadou this past summer while vacationing in Rockport, Massachusetts. This particular CD was playing on the sound system of one of the local shops downtown, which was run by a lovely young lady whose name now slips my mind. She noticed that my head was bobbing to the infectious beat, so she came over to inform me that I was listening to Mamadou Diop, one of the best rhythm guitarists and sabar drummers from Sénégal, West Africa. She gave the CD quite a sales pitch and just happened to have copies in the store that she was selling for a mere ten dollars. The music sounded great, so how could I turn one down? As I left the store I was thinking that if she wasn't Mamadou's agent and manager, maybe she should be. She definitely knew how to sell his product.

As it turns out, that ten dollar bill was definitely well spent because this is an outstanding album. Djibi contains 8 selections with a total run time of 35:53 short by today's standards for sure but the music is so infectious and well performed that the short run time is not even a consideration. This music contains the exciting rhythms of juju, rumba, samba, salsa, and reggae, performed exquisitely by an excellent array of musicians assembled by Mr. Diop.

The nucleus of Mamadou's sound are the drums, which send out a powerful and contagious rhythm, making this some of the most danceable music around. But the drums are just part of the overall sound that makes Mamadou such a treat to listen to. The songs are all original compositions, which are based on authentic African rhythms and are primarily sung in Wolof, a language that is widely spoken in several parts of Western Africa. The fact that you don't understand the language is by no means a handicap at all. This is a wonderful musical experience that has universal appeal, and Mamadou's high energy sound has a way of keeping your spirits and your senses alive.

Along with performing, Mr. Diop also teaches about African life and culture, has led drum sessions for public and private school programs, and has also taught drum and dance classes for both children and adults. His music expresses the virtues of his native African culture and definitely has a way of making a connection with the soul, so if you enjoy African rhythms, reggae and salsa, you will love this CD. It is superbly mixed and produced by Mamadou Diop and John Pfister and is available from