Senegal, rehearsal, performance and recording / by Leni Stern

I’m finally in St Louis, Senegal, the site of the jazz festival where we are playing.  A prehistoric bus met us in Dakar to take all of our equipment to St Louis.  Actually, it was supposed to take us as well, but I hired was too adventurous even for my taste!

The rehearsals have been amazing!  My jaw keeps dropping whenever the Faye brothers play.  In all my time in africa I have never heard anything like it.  Alioune has composed a series of drum calls to go with the new songs. The Faye brothers are so soft-spoken and sweet... until they get behind the drums, then all hell breaks loose.

The audience yesterday loved our rendition of traditional Senegalese songs, and they all sang along. We played on a boat that was anchored in front of the large venue. The river Senegal has some waves, and I was scared to slip into the water with my amp and pedals. Today, thank god, they moved the stage to land and set VIP sofas up on the boat.

The whole band only speaks Wollof now and I hobble along. It’s actually helpful with the Wollof lyrics I am singing.  My accent gets better and better, and everybody is terribly amused by it!