Ok, first things first, this is not an album inspired by the Japanese animation studio of the same name! The word Ghibli refers to a warm wind that blows from the desert to the Mediterranean sea, so if you’re expecting forest spirits, witches, or cursed scarecrows, you’ll be disappointed BUT, if you’re expecting to be knocked off your feet by percussive South American beats and rhythms, then you are in the right place!

Savana Funk are a three-piece band consisting of Aldo Betoo, Blake Franchetto and Youseff Ait Bouzza and the band are difficult to categorise, the sound is part fusion jazz, part funk and due to the influences of the final sound, a huge dollop of ‘World Music’. In short, it’s brilliant. Imagine Weather Report combining with the Headhunters era of Herbie Hancock with the modern day guitar sounds of Texan-band Khruangbin and you’ve got an idea of the scope of the music.

Considering the band is a three piece it’s amazing what they achieve, each musician excels throughout the album. The opening track of Agadir has different rhythms being played out, they have no right to gel together as cohesively as they do but it comes together to form something hypnotic and spellbinding. The title track of ‘Ghibli’ is where the Khruangbin reference is strongest, the guitar tone sitting above clever percussion and rhythm (rhythm is a word I’ll be using numerous times throughout this review because the music is built upon rhythms of the Southern hemisphere of Latin America and Africa), but the tempo is higher and confidently attacked.

It would be easy for the guitar to take centre stage in the absence of a singer, but it doesn’t, each musical part moves and drifts allowing each ingredient to be showcased. ‘Ghanaba’ is all about the drums, powerful, musical and punchy – call me strange by I heard influences of The Wall album by Pink Floyd, I was half expecting a Roger Waters scream at the finale.

I think this album will appeal to a wide audience of musicians, especially drummers looking to learn rhythms away from the standard four-time and guitarists that seek Eastern and Southern scales and tone, and fans of music from different parts of the world. I’ve been living with this album for a few days, dipping back in, discovering something new and not a single track leaves you disappointed. Brilliant.

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