Afro Mandinko
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Afro Mandinko

Fawkner, Victoria, Australia

Fawkner, Victoria, Australia
Band World Reggae


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Debut self titled release Feb 2008
King Marong and Afro Mandinko

Airplay on JJJ, RRR, Radio National, PBS.

Tracks available online at bands website.....

CD Reviews
“With their tight world-roots rhythm section varying their approach
from song to song and two koras in the mix, King Marong and Afro
Mandinko have produced one of the best Australian-African CDs to date.”

Lucky Oceans, The Planet ABC Australia.

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, and I guess the
same applies to CDs. However, I think I've found an exception to
this rule. King Marong and Afro Mandinko's eponymous CD has a
cover that is bright, clean and colourful; a perfect description of its
contents. From the kora (a 21 string African harp) opening the first
track to the melodica dying away to conclude the last, this is a quality
CD; recorded and mixed brilliantly, and performed by a group of
highly talented musicians -traditional West African music and instruments
merge with Western and other influences in a seamless sonic fusion,
bringing out the best of these diverse cultures.
Afro Mandinko is an eight-piece band, a collaboration between King
Marong, who hails from The Gambia but is now resident in Melbourne,
and (mostly) Australian musicians. Between them, members of the band
make use of about sixteen instruments in the construction of the twelve
tracks. With percussion playing no small part on this CD, we hear djembe,
doun doun, sabar, tam tam, congas and other percussion combined with
keyboards, saxes and guitars, all sitting on a solid foundation of bass and
drums.King Marong, a master of many African drumming styles, contributes
percussion and delivers the lead vocals. He is supported by Bec Matthews
(kora, trumpet and vocals), Prince Maikoos Havir (keyboards, melodica),
Richmond Brain (guitars), David Joseph (kit, Conrad Henderson (bass),
Paul Holleman (saxes) and Kuuka Acquah (vocals). Supplementing the
collaboration on this occasion are guest vocalist Lamine Sonko, and
multi-instrumentalist Martin Tucker, who, on this occasion, demonstrates
his kora playing skills.
This is a CD you can listen to on many levels. Give the volume knob a
sharp twist to the right and you have an instant pulsing percussive party,
where tribal African rhythms sit in a tight groove with funk and a couple
of bursts of reggae. Turn the knob to the left,and the intricacies and subtleties
of the arrangements and instruments become evident.
At another level, the musical foundations of these tracks, once you listen below the
surface of the Western influences, reveal a taste of the culture that forms their source,
from songs of celebration to epic tales of heroic battles. This is the heritage that King
Marong brings to this CD, a heritage born of his early life amongst the griots, the West
African poets, praise singers, wandering musicians and bearers of oral history.

Review by Mike Raine for



Experience the high energy grooves and funky afro moves of this is world inspired Afrobeat explosion!

Delivering an irrepressible rhythmical energy and a breathtakingly dynamic stage show, Afro Mandinko has steadily built a reputation as one of Australia’s premiere African dance bands. Drawing on influences from across West Africa, from coastal Gambian highlife to deep Saharan Desert Blues, Afro Mandinko fuses the centuries old traditions of West Africa with contemporary styles, creating a vibrant blend of irresistible dance music. With elements of afrobeat, funk, latin, reggae, dance-hall and jazz it’s a modern mix, underpinned by the deep roots of the traditional rhythms and melodies of their Manding heritage.

This energetic ensemble is a collaboration between a number of Australia's premier world musicians and features Melbourne based West African artists including King Marong, Lamine Sonko, Jali Buba Kuyateh, and Kuukua Ackuah. The instrumentation incorporates the authentic sounds of traditional West African instruments Kora and Kamelngoni (harps) plus a wide range of percussion, melded with the modern sound of keys, KAOS, guitar and bass, a driving kit and a bright and resonant afro horn section.

Repeatedly described as crowd favorites on the Australian festival touring circuit, Afro Mandinko have been creating refining and performing a unique yet highly accessible sound and a stage show that is entertaining on so many levels. From the tight musicianship, contemporary interpretation of an ancient music, colorful costume and energetic choreography, this is an audio-visual feast that no one should resist!

“Afro Mandinko really delivered at WOMADelaide 2011, playing two shows and leading two fantastic workshops in percussion and dance. Their tight musicianship and stunning dancers made for an immensely appealing and high energy show that was very popular with our large and diverse festival audience.”
Annette Tripodi, Operations & Program Manager, WOMADelaide