Leni Stern Sways to Senegalese Groove

Leni Stern Recordings
Leni Stern was a gal playing sizzling electric long before it was sexy to do so. She did mash-ups before any hipster jumped on the jargon bandwagon with the term. World music? Been there, done that. It should therefore come as no surprise to learn that her latest record falls into no hard-fast category. It’s a bit jazzy, a bit of rock and roll, meditative and ambient, but with flashes of gritty rawness. Mostly it dances in to Senegalese groove, courtesy of sidemen Mamadou Ba (bass), Alioune Faye (percussion), and numerous guest musicians. Or, perhaps sways would be a better term. This is a record that takes its time. Stern plays off various drums, and bass lines to allow her liquid notes to flow through the mix in ways in which dancing or contemplation are equally valid. The effect and the crystalline executions of her runs are reminiscent of Jerry Garcia when he was in the zone. Stern and her band mates add vocals, but even these are more overlay than structure. If you must label it, call it West African bass and drum with value-added guitar.

Rob Weir

There are no YouTube selections from this album as of yet, but you can sample a bit of the title track here.

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