After their brilliant label debut with “Grow Yes Yes” in 2017, Professor Wouassa now returns with their brand new third album on Matasuna Records.
The Swiss band’s career spans more than 15 years, where they have played at many major festivals in Switzerland and abroad. The 11 members of the band have perfected their musical qualities over the years and captivate as a well-rehearsed live band with their energetic and rousing shows. So it isn’t surprising that they supported concerts of Afrobeat legends like Ebo Taylor or Seun ‘Anikulapo’ Kuti.
Their still exuberant creativity can also be heard on their new work entitled Yobale Ma!, which in Wolof’s language can be translated as “take me” or “get me”. With their new album they take the listener to their musical island to explore the borders of Afrobeat and beyond.
The song Fallou Fall opens the album in a jazzy & big band way, and quickly switches to an afrobeat theme and solo. In the middle the song breaks into an Afro-style pattern, which is performed by Thaïs Diarra in Bambara (Malian dialect) in a traditional Mandingo way of singing. The track ends with a Sabar percussion part – a traditional Senegalese drum.
Yobale Ma is the single of the album, which is inspired by the funky guitars of a Nile Rodger and some typical fast Ghanaian highlife of Ebo Taylor.
The track Thiaroye Gare is about the Tirailleurs sénégalais, a unit of the French army who fought for France in WWII. After returning from captivity they were taken in Camp Thiaroye northeast of Dakar. Corrupt and racist colonial officials led to a revolt, which was bloodily suppressed by French troops.
From the musical point of view the song shows a link between afrobeat and funky James Brown rhythms, which ends in a fast afrobeat style with baritone saxophone and trombone solos.
Beguente Len in the middle of the album is a kind of interlude that represents Wouassa’s own way of interpreting traditional afro beats and rhythms.
With the two songs Djongoma and Sama Yone Professor Wouassa leaves his usual afrobeat path to explore the “sound of the islands” (Mauritius, La Réunion, Cape Verde or Cuba) and blend it with their personal and unmistakable style.
With Iba Niawoulo the professors investigate a kind of Ghanaian highlife medium tempo with a chord progression from Serge Gainsbourg’s song “Initial BB”. The tracks change in the middle to a fast Rhythm’n’Blues beat, which is accompanied by afro guitars. The singer “Mamadou Diagne” talks about his alter ego in Dakar.
In Djougoudja typical afro rhythms are mixed with pure Ethiopian 70’s brass sounds and funk guitars. As heard several times in other songs, the track breaks into a very personal and hard to describe Wouassa beat in it’s middle. At this time, Mamadou Diagne recites a big slam about the spiritual ideas and the history of the famous senegalese theologian and poet Serigne Touba (Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba). Under his flow some sabar percussions (typical senegalese percussions) build a strong and intense musical rug.More Like Yobale Ma! - Professor Wouassa