Benn – 2021
The guitarist Herve Samb presents BENN his first solo album. Long intimidated by this form, as demanding as it is shameless, Senegalese origin’s musician took advantage of the strange confinement period to compose this new opus, carried by a strong spiritual impulse. Benn is the title of both the first track and the entire album. Benn is a Wolof word meaning « One ». « One » like the soloist who assumes to deliver himself in his name. « One » like the fundamental unity through which the equality of all is experienced. « One » like the nature that men share. « One » like the center of a circle towards which converge the various influences that have nourished and strengthened this international musician. In a very personal way, he reaffirms in music his attachment to some essential values. Therefore, it is not surprising to see happiness, pure love, and gratitude – in Wolof, Banexx, Mbeggeel, and Sant – become the titles of three pieces on the record. Wind and There Is Always a Light are pure ballads whose slow tempo and simple melody sound like a touching invitation to contemplation. Beyond its absolute unity, this project is the result of various mixes proudly claimed. Here, as if the magician’s ten fingers had the power to transform it into a balafon or a kora, his guitar adopts the timbre and inflections of traditional African music. There, with Dance With Me, she remembers Marcus Miller and sings an American dream that links the blues scales to funk rhythms. Elsewhere, Afrotopia or The River Dance concludes with accelerations that evoke the heady rounds through which the whirling dervish enters a trance. Finally, with Promise Of Love – the only one of the ten tracks to have already been recorded on a previous album – the universal virtuoso shows himself to be at ease with the European repertoire’s harmonic refinements. Each note reveals the powerful personality of an artist who, more than any other, embodies and orchestrates the meeting of all these universes. Herve Samb presents with BENN a mirror of himself. An inhabited composer, a magnificent interpreter, he excels at unifying a rhythmic approach based on riffs and ostinatos, art of accompaniment where each chord is in its place, and a melodic gift where jazz phrasing rubs shoulders with the accents of his native Africa.
Everywhere in this opus, emotion resonates and radiates. Conceived as an inner journey, BENN is first and foremost a promise of love where the sincerity of a magnificent and powerful cry from the heart can be heard.