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Africando

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Biography

(1990 – present)

Africando is a musical project formed in 1990 to unite New York-based salsa musicians with Senegalese vocalists. Subsequently, under the name Africando All Stars, musicians from other African countries were included.

Salsa has been a hugely popular style in Central and West Africa since the 1940s-1950s, and the goal of Africando was to merge salsa rhythms from both sides of the Atlantic, mainly based on the African salsa tradition.

Africando was initiated by West African producer Ibrahim Sylla, Malian arranger Boncana Maiga (of Fania All Stars) and legenday charanga singer Ronnie Baro. Some of the musicians initially involved were: Pape Seck (ex member of Star Band), Nicholas Menheim (associate of Youssou N’Dour), and Medoune Diallo (formerly with Orchestre Baobab).

The first two albums were a big success both in Africa and in the rest of the world. Singer Pape Seck died in 1995, and was replaced by Gnonnas Pedro from Benin (who died August 2005) and Ronnie Baro of Orquestra Broadway.

For the latest albums, well known African musicians, such as Tabu Ley Rochereau, Koffi Olomide, Salif Keita, Sekouba Bambino, Amadou Balake; and Thionne Seck were invited. This new constellation led to the new name Africando All Stars. Whilst in the beginning, the songs were Latin classics sung in wolof language or a mix of wolof and spanish, newer songs were African classics, redone with latin rhythms and instrumentation. With both approaches, Africando has been equally successful.

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