You know what I can’t get enough of right now? Joy. Even if this week feels less bleak than a few months ago, there’s still so much downward pressure and heaviness that is trying to grind everything into dust. Senegal’s Wau Wau Collectif’s Yaral Sa Doom laughs in the face of it, tempting the fates to even try to blot out their beacon of light as they inspire and educate. Effervescent and lively, music like this is a shield against the darkness.
The story behind Yaral Sa Doom is worth reading, and the transnational aspect of the album is important context, but the power of the music stands on its own regardless of backstory. Loose dub rhythms drive the bountiful title track that opens the album into bright, sunlit spaces. Don’t even try to stay on the couch because the positive energy requires you to get up and move your body. It’s not just about dancing, though, because when you close your eyes and feel the music flow through your blood and bones, this calm enchantment infects you. Suddenly, you feel lighter and more determined. “Yaral Sa Doom” means ‘educate the young’ in Wolof, but there are lessons for all.
That calm, pointed power is loudest on the quietly exquisite “Mouhamodou Lo and His Children” which plays out like a high life and jazz-infused conversational hymn between the aforementioned Lo and his children. Revelatory and entrancing, it’s like becoming part of a sacred ritual of jubilation. It transports you to a new world that you’ll never want to leave. Elsewhere, “Yaral Sa Doom II” finds electronic beats and hypnotic, celebratory chanting dancing together while the horns return before Wau Wau Collectif lifts off into the cosmos on closer “Legui Legui.” I can’t overstate how joyous and free Yaral Sa Doom makes me feel. What a revolutionary record.