While I was killing time by signing petitions online to avoid the world being less sad, my phone rings: it’s the editor. She asked me to look into a Senegalese musician named Alune Wade.
Until a few days ago, I knew nothing of this artist with the presidential surname. And the first impressions that come to my mind—about her stage name Alune Wade—made me think of the anagram of the alder, this ornamental plant very popular in the manufacture of high-end guitar for its acoustic characteristics. Well, the guy is a bass player. He seems to be a virtuoso in this field. When I was going through his discography, I expected to find suspicious things that would give me the opportunity to rub the wrong side of him, to saturate him with my gall. To my surprise, I find that the guy is clean. On the contrary, he has a career the size of the Himalayas. At 44 only.
Let us understand, I am not saying of him that he is a Mozart. But, like the latter, he entered the music very early. A door opened by his father, former conductor of the Senegalese army, allows him to discover the extraordinary musical world. The bass guitar attracts him, the electress. It is very fast that he imposes himself, despite his young age, alongside accomplished artists. With these experiences, he released his first album “Mbolo”, 2006: he is 28 years old. After the piano and guitar, Alune discovers the bass which becomes his favorite instrument. In 2011, he recorded “Ayo Nene”, his second solo album. 2015: Havana-Paris-Dakar, with Cuban pianist Harold Lopez-Nussa, 2015; African Fast Food, 2018. The young artist is growing in maturity, depth and dimension. That is not enough. He’s going to drink at the source of a jazz icon, Marcus Miller.
Alune Wade, a bass guitar virtuoso…
Alune Wade is a virtuoso of the bass guitar of the African continent and especially of Senegal his country of origin. An outstanding musician who does not strike the strings, but caresses them; his fingers find the lines, as the prose writer finds the melodic rhythm of a sentence. He has been on the biggest stages in the world, but the ones that have marked him are: “Oran, Tunis, Morocco, Ethiopia: these are cities that have a fairly significant place in my musical career since I met Moroccan musicians like Aziz. ” he lets off on our mike. He particularly emphasises the almost initiatory journey he had to make ‘for the creation’ of his album: ‘I recorded first in Tunis’, ‘after I also took shots in Paris, taken in New York and Dakar as well and this is what gives in this is what is really the story of this album that is all the time. Before that, he collaborated, in the shadows, with artists of international renown, such as Paco Séry, Salif Keita, Youssou Ndour, Ismaël Lô. Not being of flamboyant reputations, it is rather unknown to the general public. But his title Saba’s Journey from his new album Sultan, which “will be released in digital on May 6 and in physics on May 20, 2022” will be a landmark, he tells us in an interview. Sultan “is the result of the last ten years of my career and that is why we feel andalusian, ethio-jazz, maghreb”.
Saba’s Journey: a nitroglycerin journey with African rhythms
Saba’s Journey! This single is one of the 12 tracks that appear on my next album “Sultan”, he released talking about his new album “Sultan”, his face illuminated. I know that my musical tastes are often shit—like most things I love. But, I have a plus: something that is missing a lot; the musical ear. In the beginning, it was with the haggard stupidity of an idiot — in the Dostoyevsky sense of the word — that I first listened to this instrumental music. And very quickly, over the covers, I began to hit: to grasp the notes, the nuances, the story that the artist tells in his creations. I am not a great connoisseur of music but I know a musical nugget and this song that traces the Queen’s journey of ‘Saba’ will be a landmark in the annals of art. This song speaks a little – because you can’t say everything in a 5.28 single – of the story of the Queen of Sheba when she left Ethiopia to go to Israel, the promised land,” he says. From the desert landscape glimpsed through a window of history, a woman leads the way. Behind her, a group of men, women and camels walk to the sounds of the double bass and piano.
Saba’s Journey could be considered a starting song. In this single, Alune Wade invites to a journey to the heart of Egyptian civilization, to the sources of rhythm with a woman at its head. Something unusual in an ancient society. In this joyful music tinged with a touch of futurism, jazz bassist Alune Wade follows in the footsteps of our Egyptian ancestors. Architect of a tormented history, Alune builds the vast history of the Queen of Sheba with solid musical and rhythmic materials.