Guelewar Band of Banjul
(The Gambia)

Guelewar Band of Banjul has been further developing the afro-manding sound of Ifang Bondi during a short period in the late 1970s and early 1980s. With strong percussion, a psychedelic tinge, prominent keyboards and saxophones, Guelewar's music is an "Aha-Erlebnis", but surprisingly enough, not a single album has been reissued on CD, whereas their LPs are sometimes offered at horrendous prices. Not much is written on the group except that the band leader was Laye N'gom, who was formerly with the Supreme Eagles which became later Super Alligators.

Youssou N'Dour considers Guelewar as a main inspirational influence, partly because of the use of lyrics in a noble wolof as opposed to "street" wolof, and partly because Guelewar had resolutely moved forward from latin and highlife to an explosive mix of soul and funk with Senegambian rhythms such as Boogaraboo and Ndaga. Lead singer Moussa N'Gom has had a strong imprint on Guelewar's music with his expressive voice. He later left to join Omar Pene's Super Diamono before starting a solo career. Moussa also made a cassette with the Ensemble Lyrique Traditionnel du Senegal (1995) and he has recorded with Thione Seck. His current band is called le Groupe Talibe.

Until quite recently, none of Orchestre Guelewar's albums have been released on CD, and only a few songs were available on compilations, such as « Warteef Jiggeen » on the first volume of the Golden Afrique compilation series, « Wallou! » on the African Pearls vol.4: The Teranga Spirit, and « Relen te contan » on the African Pearls Senegal 70 compilation.

But with the current interest in afro-soul and afro-funk from the 1970s, a small label Teranga Beat has released live recordings, and in 2012 a compilation album was released carrying the title « Touki Ba Banjul: Acid Trip from Banjul to Dakar ».

Ifang Bondi
      Ifang Bondi    
• Guelewar members on 'Sama Yaye Demna N'Darr':
Njok Malick Mike Njie bass;
Oussou Ndiaye drums;
Moussa Njobdi Njie guitar;
Laaye N'Gom keyboards, backing vocals;
Adu Salla percussion;
Alive Badara Cham N'Gom percussion;
Koto Suno Icoto N'Gom percussion;
Bas Lo Fara Biram saxophone [Alto];
Laaye Sallah Ombor saxophone [Tenor];
Moussa N'Gom vocals

Formed: 1973
Style: Mbalax, Ndaga, afro-funk

Title Year Label Remarks
Touki Ba Banjul:
Acid Trip from Banjul to Dakar
2012 Kindred Spirits KSRE9CD Compilation
Halleli N'Dakarou 2011 Teranga Beat Previously unreleased live recording at the Canari Club de Kaolack, Senegal, 1982
Xaley Ndakarou vol.2 198? Touba K7 Band name: Orchestre Guelewar II Dance Band
Dieuf Dieul Khadin Rassoul 1982 Sonafric SAF 50110 LP
Warteef Jigeen 1981 Salsa Musique/Disafrique DARL 007 LP
Tasito 1980 Jambaar JM 5001 LP
Sama Yaye Demna N'Darr 1980 Valérie VAL 001 LP

Liner notes compilation CD Golden Afrique vol 1

Page added September 2009