Wau Wau Collectifs second album, Mariage, is instilled with a newfound sense of purpose. Expanding upon the inspirational themes of their acclaimed 2021 debut, Yaral Sa Doom (Educate The Young), this long-distance collaboration from musicians in Senegal, led by Aurora Kane, and Swedens Karl Jonas Winqvist is an even more stylistically expansive affair. Joyful childrens songs collide with fuzzy guitar solos and thumping hip-hop beats. Shimmering synths lift off from the plunky percussion of the balafon and versatile sounds of the 22-string kora. Familiar voices from the first album return with more explicitly political lyrics, while the music feels both rhythmically dense and sonically weightless, flowing from one spellbinding moment to the next.
Some of the rhythms that laid the foundation for Wau Wau Collectifs second album were recorded during Winqvist's 2018 Senegal trip that ignited the project, with a core group of musicians who may now be familiar to fans of their debut. These include flute master Ousmane Ba, whose softly rippling tone punctuates the bounce of Necessaire and frantically dances throughout Mariage Force. On Baye Kate, rapper Babacar Babadi Diol growls and rolls his Rs over swirling synths in a heartfelt tribute to farmers. Arouna Kanes echo-drenched vocals return on Le repair spirituel, before he removes all effects on intimate closer Liguey Len, strumming so quietly that you can hear cars honking and crickets chirping in the background.
For Mariage, band members from each country were inspired to include a wider array of instrumental flourishes unique to their cross-continental collaboration. Yay Balma revolves around the cycling riffs of Jango Diabatés xalam guitar, as this songs fuzzy tones and soaring sax solos open side two with a bang. Pitchi Goubidi provides a stark contrast, with the kora played like a harp and Gilbert Badjis gravelly lyrics about the bird of the night disappearing into dubbed-out chamber pop. Winqvists omnichord hovers back into focus on Yonou Natangue, a free-floating jam that maintains the messages of Wau Wau Collectifs debut, promoting youth education to address the social issues facing contemporary Senegal: Peace is the better wealth / The way to wander.
Sadly, flute player Ousmane Bah passed away after the completion of the album. Wau Wau Collectif wishes to dedicate Mariage to his memory.