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Olatunji, Babatunde / Circle of Drums
Album:Circle of Drums Collection:World
Artist:Olatunji, Babatunde Added:05/2005
Label:Chesky Records 

A-File Activity
Add Date:2005-05-29 Pull Date:2005-07-31 Charts:Reggae/World
Week Ending:31 Jul17 Jul10 Jul3 Jul26 Jun19 Jun12 Jun5 Jun
Airplays:11121532

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Album Review
Fo
Reviewed 2005-05-25 
BABATUNDE OLATUNJI – “Circle of Drums”
Chesky, 2005

Newly discovered recordings by the late African drum master, made right up the road in Menlo Park in 1993. Drummers from Serbia and Nigeria join Babatunde in the core trio, and get occasional support from ektar (an Indian lute), synth, hammered dulcimer and a female vocalist. You just can’t go wrong with stuff like this. Kudos also to the mixing engineer: the sound is fantastic! Here’s hoping more of these “lost” recordings turn up…

PLAY IT ALL! (Fo’s picks: 2, 4, 5)

1. 5:42 – Strong groove holds steady for almost 5 minutes, speeds up at end.

2. 9:03 – rich palette of percussive tones, with vocal elements subtly blended in until Babatunde starts wailing. Great stuff, could be African, Native American, or from anywhere in between (in either direction).

3. 8:51 – drumkit and hand drum patterns slowly evolve over deep synth drone

4. 7:41 – pensive dulcimer intro leads into very nice interplay with walking-tempo drums, intensity slowly rises but stays in check, soft landing.

5. 10:03 – more overtly African than other tracks, feels like a work rhythm. Simple wordless vocals repeat as drumming gets more elaborate, speeds up. Pretty fast by the 6 minute mark and it never lets up.

6. 21:28 – starts relaxed, with a mysterious, ancient feel (think of slumbering gods). This gradually mutates and accelerates into a suggestion of busy activity. By the halfway mark it’s fast, and the patterns are shifting rapidly. Stays that way until the final minute, then vanishes.

[ Fo ] – 5/25/2005

Track Listing
1.Stepping (Isise) 4.Embracement
2.Incantations 5.Ascension (Igoke)
3.Dawn (Idaji) 6.Cosmic Rhythm Vibrations