Fofoulah (meaning “it’s there” in Wolof) is a London-based group featuring Senegalese vocalist, dancer and percussionist Batch Gueye, Tom Challenger (Red Snapper) on sax/synths, guitarist Phil Stevenson (Iness Mezel), Johnny Brierley on bass, Gambian sabar drummer Kaw Secka and drummer Dave Smith (Robert Plant, Juju). With the rhythms of the Sabar drums – a traditional form of Wolof drumming from Gambia and Senegal – at its heart, Fofoulah’s music has evolved into an inspired cosmopolitan mélange that also incorporates elements of electronic music, dub, improvisation, afro-rock and Wolof dance.
Their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Fofoulah’, produced by Smith, was released on Glitterbeat Records in September 2014. The album is a previously unvisited crossroads where Sabar rhythms meet dub basslines and sci-fi synths; liquid melodies and Wolof rap entangle with trance-like dance grooves; and raw guitars, horns and samples blend with west and north African song forms.
Their second record on Glitterbeat “Daega Rek” (released November 2018) is a more shape-shifting and adventurous recording. Slippery sabar beats, dystopian electronics, and echoing, shamanic chants ratchet up both the dub quotient and the dramatic tension. Creating a sound-world that is both earthy and urban, futurist and rooted, the record is brought into focus by the rhythms and vocals from Kaw Secka and the vivid production of Tom Challenger.
Fofoulah is not merely a cross-cultural project. They are a dynamic band born naturally out of personal friendships and varied backgrounds, the nerve net of contemporary London and the post-global interconnectedness we all experience daily. The band is propulsive, innovative, celebratory and always leaning forward.
“African drumming, trance grooves, dubby bass lines and rock guitar with plenty of spatial improvisation.” – Uncut
“With solid roots in West African sabar drumming, Fofoulah blend multiple genres to create a complex fusion of modern pop, jazz, rock, electro, hip-hop, prog and dub… A promising debut from an exciting and talented group of musicians.” **** Songlines (Top of the World album)
***** The Independent on Sunday
“Really intelligent, infectious and effective … It’s subtle, beckoning with its toes in the ancestral mud, but this is modern music, intriguing, well-textured and very likeable.” – fRoots
“Fofoulah’s foundations are dub and jazz, but these are beefed up with electronics, pan-African rock and, most persuasively, the sabar and tama drums of West Africa … The vibe switches from Ethiopia to Algeria to Senegal to Bristol in a heartbeat.” **** Mojo
This is a standing show.