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Osibisa - Woyaya CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.06 | 107 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Criss-Cross Rhythms That Explode In Happiness

Sometimes the worst curse a band can face is releasing an excellent debut album, after a great release, people expect not only a good album but also better than the first one, something very hard to achieve, mainly because a new band is still in developing process and probably will change the sound, something that fans are nor ready to accept, so we often read about bands being called one hit wonders, because they were not able to at least repeat a good debut.

OSIBISA released a fantastic self titled debut, and almost immediately their second album "Woyaya", in other words they took the risk, but in this case they hit the nail in the head, ""Woyaya" is at least as good as their self titled album, with the advantage of being better recorded and proving the world it was not just good luck.

As OSIBISA usually does, the first track "Beautiful Seven" works like an introduction to the album, in the same way as "The Dawn", this opener sounds like a tribal ceremony receiving a new day, full of sounds of the jungle. But as the song advances we can notice we are before an outstanding band, the beautiful flute combined with ceremonial chants, a Psyche guitar "a la" SANTANA, narration and shouts, surprise any new listener that would not know what to expect next.

"Y Sharp" explores more the Afro Funk sound, with a Wah - Wah guitar, trumpets, Saxophone and a frenetic rhythm, but this is not as simple as it seems, the elaborate arrangements,controlled dissonances and Jazzy feeling, keeps the album in a great level.

"Spirits Up Above" is a strong combination of Jazz and Psychedelia, while Robert Bailey makes the Hammond cry, Loughty Amao, Teddy Osei and Mac Tontoh calm the mood with the wind instruments. But still OSIBISA has more to offer, the beautiful chants and elaborate vocal work combine the nostalgia of Blues with African tunes, if this wasn't enough the lengthy instrumental final section is an explosion of rhythm and melody, simply hallucinating.

"Survival" is what we should always expect from an African band of the early 70's and hardly find, a perfect fusion between the tribal African rhythms, Rock and, late Psychedelia and Funk, carefully balanced in order not to sound cheesy or vulgar, everything is in it's place, again a perfect hit.

"Move On" presents us a fantastic bass and percussion introduction, the sound of the congas, cowbells, bongos and drums melt together in a contagious rhythm, while the wind instruments add a Caribbean touch and the Hammond B3 screams in the background, can't get enough of OSIBISA. But the cherry in the top of the pie is the guitar performance by Wendel Richardson in the perfect style of Carlos Santana.

"Rabiatu" begins with Roy Bedeau and his powerful bass making the way for the explosion of percussion instruments that lead to another frenetic mixture of sounds and moods of the Dark Continent and a touch of Caribbean flavour provided by Roger Bayley from Trinidad & Tobago plus Wendel Richardson from Antigua who plays a killer guitar. The final percussion extravaganza is delirious.

When the listener believes things can't get better, comes "Woyaya", a magical and mysterious African Ballad with melancholic lyrics, oneiric Hammond and as usual perfect percussion, but this time with the addition of outstanding flute solos, one of the most beautiful tracks I ever heard. Even the strong accent in their English fits perfectly with the atmosphere.

Now, many people may believe I exaggerate with the rating, but I honestly believe this album is essential and a masterpiece, so you now where this is pointing, maybe the only doubt is the Progressive Rock element, but if this delicate fusion of styles, sounds and genres is not Prog, I still don't know what this word means.

So I have no other choice than rate "Woyaya" with 5 stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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