Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara

Gambia, UK

In Trance

Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara

Released 13 June 2011

  1. Nightwalk
  2. Waide Nayde
  3. Djanfa Moja
  4. Jombajo
  5. Mariama Trance
  6. Deep Sahara
  7. Halanam

Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara

Liner notes

The new album In Trance was recorded live to capture the spirit of JuJu’s ecstatic, trance-like performances on stage – channelling hypnotic rhythms from traditional Africa, leftfield jazz and the wilder end of rock.

Not long ago, on a night lit up by a fat golden moon, JuJu took a trip. Fuelled by rocking guitar and one-string swing, by backseat bass and Afro-jazz beats, Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara travelled to the place where tradition meets psychedelia – and then teetered, out there, on the edge. Theirs was a journey of rhythmic circles and open spaces, a journey over age-old grooves and along futuristic highways: a journey where the destination – with its whirling spirals and other kaleidoscopic motifs – counted as much as the journey.
“We just came together, plugged in and played,” says Adams of In Trance, a one-take marvel that begs repeated listening. “We played it exactly as we play it live. It was a bit like controlling a runaway horse – that is completely spooked!”

'Djanfa Moja' at Real World Studios

If JuJu’s chemistry was evident on their acclaimed 2007 debut Soul Science and its equally praised follow up Tell No Lies, it is almost palpable here. In Trance is precisely that: an album that sees Adams’ Les Paul goldtop vying and blending with Camara’s keening bittersweet vocals and fiery ritti playing, and embracing dub reggae and avant-garde jazz en route. Tracks build and circle, layer and knit. Melodies interlock, rhythms cross and the drone guitar builds a web of sound with an African aesthetic and heavy rock fervour.

The two men’s spooky musical empathy is evident to anyone who has ever seen them tear the roof off live. “Justin’s playing gets inside my body, and I can hear the music in his head,” insists Camara. “Justin plays African style.” It’s no secret that the roots of rock (and indeed, blues and reggae) are earthed firmly in the Motherland. Calling on the griot skills he honed in childhood Camara peels off riffs on his ritti like some be-robed Gambian Hendrix, his Fulani-language lyrics only adding to the hallucinogenic feel.

The recording magic took place at Real World Studios, where new band members, Dave Smith and Billy Fuller, brought their own unique strengths to the mix. In the studio, JuJu created five new tracks that make your body pulsate – music that is raw and swinging and has that slightly distorted sheet-of-sound vibe that Moroccan artists like The Musicians of Jajouka have, where everyone is doing their own little pushes and pulls and twists and twiddles and weaving an incredible sonic web. Two tracks, Mariama Trance and Deep Sahara have previously appeared on the EP, The Trance Sessions.

"The whole album evolved in a very fast and spontaneous manner. We just went into the studio and did five live takes without headphones or overdubbing. We set out to make swing music, dance music, trance music; we got all those things." Justin Adams
Photo credit: York Tillyer.

Reviews

  • Avant-jazz dub-trance grooves. The Independent (UK)
  • There's some fine playing on this set... Furious, improvised fusion of African styles, blues and rock ... Adams and Camara interact with extraordinary intuition. The Guardian (UK)
  • Over the past few years they have played some stunning live gigs and that experience and familiarity bursts out of this brilliant disc. The sounds of guitar and Gambian fiddle complement each other perfectly and Justin and Juldeh clearly fire each other's playing....this album gets deep into trance-like grooves with Camara's ritti winding like a snake over rattling percussion...the guitar licks driving Deep Sahara evoking the Touareg sandscape of the Festival in the Desert. London Evening Stanadard (UK)
  • A culture clash masterpiece. It's a heady brew of hard bop, wild folk thunder, invigorating drumming and super-tooled rock dynamics. The Mirror (UK)
  • Simultaneously grounded and spiralling off into the stratosphere, this is urgent, epic stuff Independent On Sunday (UK)
  • Their clearest influences...Led Zeppelin, a little Lee Perry and, in the African's extraordinary fiddle solos, a measure of Hendrix-style firepower. MOJO (UK)

Listen

Further Listening

  • Tell No Lies

    Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara

    Released 11 May 2009

    Tell No Lies is the new sound of Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara. The sound of a nation with no borders, a place that needs no passport, no visa. This is where the deep roots of African music nourish the raw electric groove of rock and roll, where Gnawa spirit rhythms come up against Chicago distortion, where snaky N’awlins rhythm has a West London howl, and a Sahel Wail.
  • Ishumar

    Toumast

    Released 05 March 2007

    Lead singer Moussa Ag Keyna together with female singer Aminatou Goumar and producer Dan Levy has created sublime new African desert sounds on his debut album. These powerful songs, inspired by remarkable personal experiences of life in a time of political unrest in North Africa, reveal a passion for the desert that emerges through lively rhythm and vibrant melody.

Further reading

Behind the scenes with Bokanté in new video for ‘Fanm’

Featuring scenes from the recording sessions with the Metropole Orkest and Jules Buckley

The Gloaming announce 2019 National Concert Hall dates in Dublin

The Gloaming return for their annual run of shows at the Dublin venue in 2019.

Stephen Hague on bringing Big Blue Ball to the finishing line

The New Order producer faced the mammoth task of sifting through years of recording sessions.

Real World Sessions: Remmy Ongala & Super Matimila, 17 August 1991

Rupert Hine and Stephen W Tayler look back on the 1991 session which yielded Remmy Ongala's 'Mambo'.