Faba Loba is more of a conceptual recording project than a band. The concept is this: Take everything good; Mix well.
The result is indeed a fusion of Senegalese, Cuban, and electronica elements, but it’s more than a slapdash collage. Amadou Fall’s kora playing, for instance, while based in the traditional griot patterns, achieves flights of melody recorded nowhere else: fierce arpeggios and non-standard tunings let him more than match the intensity of Rafi eL’s dance floor beats and Beston Barnett’s afro-funk guitar lines. Lica Cardona’s choruses in Spanish, which draw much from traditional Cuban rumba, punctuate Ibou Ba’s improvised Wolof lyrics and chameleon-like delivery.
Here’s a little bit about each member of Faba Loba:
Ibou Ba and Amadou Fall both perform in the traditional Senegalese griot tradition they grew up with in Dakar, though both have also stretched the tradition in unexpected ways. With a versatile emotive voice, Ibou toured Europe with an African musical version of “Carmen” before coming to the States. Amadou left Senegal to play his distinctive kora on tour with pop superstar Baaba Maal. Both now live and perform in Southern California, often as a duo called Sene Africa.
Lica Cardona sings and dances traditional Cuban folkloric and religious music in San Diego with Omo Ache.
In his fifteen years with ART HURTS Records, Beston Barnett built up a trove of afro-pop and afro-beat ideas playing guitar and bass with Roadmaster and Agyemang, Juju Duarte, Bolga Zohdoomah, and in his own jazz combos. He currently performs gypsy swing guitar in San Diego with the Zzymzzy Quartet.
Rafi eL began experimenting with the cross-section of electronica, hip-hop, and folkloric music with his LA-based band Fósforo and in performances as DJ Scuzzy. His latest work with the Dutty Artz label combines dubstep with Latin American melodies, rhythms, and pop sensibilities.