- The Wild Bamboulas
- Our Ancestry
- Talkn Bout Luv
- Eyes of a Prisoner
- Good Old Days
- Bamboula Crazy
- Is It Love
- Come Away With Me
- South African Sunrise
Reviewed in OffBeat
Geraldine Wyckoff (July 2014 Issue)
“We’ve been together 20 years; we’ve had some fun and shed some tears,” sings Luther Gray, the leader and percussionist of Bamboula 2000, a music-and-dance ensemble he founded in 1994. The call of African drums opens this autobiographical title cut, “The Wild Bamboulas,” that also bows lyrically and rhythmically to the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian culture.
The song tells of the Bamboula 2000’s origins (“We come out of Congo Square”), its continuum (“Any Sunday you’ll find us there”), and its ear to modern tones with a jazz element provided by trumpeter Jeremy Thomas.
Stylistically, the album travels the African diaspora, beginning with the continent then traveling to the United States with its inclusion of contemporary rhythm and blues and, as mentioned, to New Orleans. It also stops in Jamaica for a taste of reggae on “Eyes of a Prisoner,” featuring great vocals by Drena Clay.
All but two of the cuts on the disc are originals written by various collaborations among band members. Percussionist and choreographer Seguenon Kone, a native of the Ivory Coast and now New Orleans resident, contributes an album highlight, “Ployo.” Bamboula 2000 captures the spirit of the song that, as is explained, celebrates the rites of passage for males and females in Kone’s homeland. South Africa’s Ernie Smith wrote the rhythmic, pop-oriented “Bamboula Crazy” especially for the group. Here, Cheryl Woods takes the lead vocals.
“We are the Wild Bamboulas” the group joyfully chants on an album that jumps continents and genres.