ORCHESTRA BAOBAB

Orchestra Baobab is a Senegalese band established in 1970 as the house band of the Baobab Club in Dakar. Many of the band’s original members had previously played with Star Band de Dakar in the 1960s. Directed by timbalero and vocalist Balla Sidibé, the group featured saxophonists Issa Cissoko and Thierno Koité, two singers, two guitarists and a rhythm section with drums, congas and bass guitar. Since their formation, the band has predominantly played a mix of son cubano, Wolof music, and to a lesser extent Mande musical traditions. Following the deaths of Cissoko in 2019 and Sidibé in 2020, Thierno Koité has become the leader of the band. Orchestra Baobab became one of the dominant African bands of the 1970s, recording 20 albums before their breakup in 1987, which occurred as a result of the increase in popularity of mbalax, a more contemporary genre of Senegalese music. In the years following their disbandment, World Circuit released several of their albums on CD, making the band very popular among world music fans in the UK and the rest of Europe. This prompted their reformation in 2001, which was followed by the recording of a new album, Specialist in All Styles. The group continues to tour extensively and has released two more studio albums, Made in Dakar (2007) and Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng (2017).