Tag Archives: Malian music

African Stars and Rising Acts at La Mar de Músicas 2018 Music Festival

Kokoko!, Fatoumata Diawara, Songhoy Blues, Bamba Wassoulou Groove, Djanka Diabaté, Nélida Karr and Alex Ikot are the African artists set to perform between July 20 and 28, 2018 in Cartagena, Spain at world music festival La Mar de Músicas.

Music from Africa has always played a leading role in La Mar de Músicas. The festival has dedicated previous editions to Senegal, Mali, Morocco and South Africa. Even though this year is dedicated to the music of Denmark, African artists will be represented as well.

We have not stopped looking at Africa in any of our editions. We will continue being one of the seminal festivals in terms of music from the African continent in Spain,” said David Martínez Noguera, Culture councilman of the Cartagena City Council.

Kokoko!

 

Representing the alternative music scene of the Congo, Kokoko! will perform on Saturday, July 21. Kokoko! is a hard to define band viewed from the western perspective. Their sounds emerge from the ghetto and the gambling dens of Kinshasa, where they avoided the censorship imposed by the government.

Kokoko! is part of the “do it yourself” concept in terms of the instruments they use. They invented their own instruments with scrap objects, given the impossibility of buying the traditional ones. A typewriter, a bucket of paint, a car’s cassette player … they have become the transmitters of their creations.

The band met French producer and African music fan, Débruit, and together they merged their sound universes, electrifying the raw sound of the Congolese and offering music that merges disco sounds, psychedelia and African traditions.

 

Songhoy Blues

 

La Mar de Músicas will welcome Songhoy Blues, all the way from Timbuktu. Formed by three young people who, despite the ban on music in their region, continued their work from their exile in Bamako. They released an album that says it all, Résistence, in which they collaborated with Iggy Pop. Songhoy Blues will be in Cartagena on July 22.

Another of the Malian bands that participate in La Mar de Músicas is Bamba Wassoulou Groove, an act in which three guitarists stand in the wake of the legendary Zani Diabaté, who died in 2011.

Bamba Wassoulou Groove perform new songs and classic pieces from the bambara repertoire that sound like psychedelic guitars and electric and hypnotic blues. On July 25 will play in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento de Cartagena (Cartagena city hall square).

 

Fatoumata Diawara – Photo by Angel Romero

 

Fatoumata Diawara, originally from Mali, is a singer-songwriter who fuses wassulu music, an original style from the south of the Niger River with jazz and soul, creating a blend of modernity and African traditions with ancestral echoes. Her precious voice, trained as a theater and film performer in France and Mali, unfolds without limits in her latest work, Fenfo, which she will present in the old courtyard of the Military Training Barracks of Cartagena on July 27.

Djanka Diabaté was discovered by reggae star Alpha Blondy, who encouraged her and helped her make her first recordings. Her music combines traditional Guinean sounds and zouk and soukus influences and has made her a celebrity in Ivory Coast. In Cartagena she will perform on Monday, July 23rd along with Totó la Momposina, winner of La Mar de Músicas 2018 award.

 

Nélida Karr

 

Nélida Karr is the contemporary musical revelation of the new rhythms and sounds of Equatorial Guinea. Vocalist, composer, producer, pianist, guitarist and cellist, she has always been surrounded by the wealth of her family’s musical heritage, the landscapes of her country, jazz and gospel music.

Nélida will perform in Cartagena on Thursday, July 26, as she is one of the winners of the Vis a Vis cultural cooperation project of Casa África, in which the Cartagena festival has participated once more. Casa África is a Spanish government agency that supports cultural exchange between Spain and African nations.

 

Alex Ikot

 

On July 28, the last day of the festival, and also thanks to the Vis a Vis project, Equatorial Guinean actor Alex Ikot will perform. He’s a musician who has always excelled in the music scene of his country as a percussionist and drummer, skills that he developed from his childhood.

Álex Ikot’s resume is perhaps the most international of Equatoguinean musicians, having played during his long career with some of the greatest African musicians, such as Manu Dibango and Youssou N’Dour.

More at lamardemusicas.cartagena.es

headline photo: Bamba Wassoulou Groove

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Essential Reissue of Ali Farka Toure‘s The Source

Ali Farka Toure – The Source (World Circuit, 2018, reissue)

With our eyes firmly fixed on the far horizon we want the new. We want what’s next. We not only want the new, we demand it. We’ve boiled our lives down to frantically seeking out what’s the latest, what’s right around the next corner that we can grasp onto before discarding it by the wayside for the next thing, the latest stuff, the hottest new trend just beyond our reach. I bet there are more than a few out there who can barely tolerate leftovers from last night’s dinner.

I’m here to remind you that there are some things worth revisiting. I’m not talking about some somber commemorations of old disasters or old political scandals or the hairstyles of your youth. I am, of course, referring to a collection of songs, and not just any collection, but a powerhouse recording by the father of desert blues Ali Farka Toure and the recording The Source.

Originally put out in 1992 and the first recording for the Malian guitarist with his band Group Asco, The Source wasn’t Mr. Toure’s merry-go-round or his first recording. Recordings on Sonafric like Ali Toure Farka and Biennale and the Sonodisc/Esperance recordings Ali Farka Toure (Red) and Ali Farka Toure (Green) appeared before The Source. It was following the release of The River on the label World Circuit, where The Source bubbles up from the earth and Mr. Toure takes listeners on musical landscapes like Talking Timbuktu with Ry Cooder, Niafunke, Mississippi to Mali with Corey Harris, In the Heart of the Moon with Toumani Diabate and Ry Cooder, Savane and Ali and Toumani. Mr. Toure showed us The Source and we all listened.

As luck would have it, World Circuit has just announced the release of a special edition of The Source. Re-mixed, remastered from the original tapes, The Source is now out for the first time on vinyl with a 28-page color booklet. This is the kind of re-issue you all want. This is where going back is all just so very fine.

The Source is good. Not just the shove into your shoulder good. It isn’t even the smack up side the head good. This goes beyond even the roundhouse to the kisser good. No, this is the Jackie Chan kick to the head, lay you out on the floor, leaving you incapable of movement other than just to listen kind of good. And, trust me, you’ll want to just lay still as the opening strains “Goye Kur” worm their way into your brain. It’s all there on The Source – Mr. Toure on guitar and njarka violin, Afel Bocoum on vocals and Hamma Sankare on calabash and Oumar Toure on congas. Rolling rhythms, call-and-response vocals and some of the sweetest desert blues guitar licks make The Source savagely good.

Desert blues fans get the whole revisit tour with “Inchana Massina,” the low down magical bluesy “Roucky,” the sassy “Dofana” and tantalizing “Karaw.” “Hawa Dolo” makes everything all right with guest artist Taj Mahal, as do tracks like the sweetly worked “Cinquante Six,” the upbeat “I Go Ka” and the swinging “Mahini Me.” Closing is just as powerful with “Takamba.”

So, while you may have your gaze fixed on the horizon, going back to listen to The Source proves just as sweet.

Buy The Source on vinyl, CD or digital.

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Remarkable Malian Blues with Tama

Samba Touré – Wande (Glitterbeat, 2018)

Wande showcases the talent and innovation of Malian guitarist and vocalist Samba Touré. On Wande, Touré to return to a more traditional, acoustic sound. It’s a delight for guitar fans and lovers of what has been called desert blues, the music of northern Mali, Niger, Mauritania and the Western Sahara.

What sets Touré’s music a part is his use of traditional instruments such as the tama, the talking drum that plays a leading role throughout the album. Touré dedicated a love song to his wife in the title cut and also celebrates the late Zoumana Tereta, the musician that participated in many of his recordings playing the soku, a Wasulu fiddle. Zouman appears in the form of some samples of his performances.

 

 

Although the focus is on a more acoustic sound, the album still has fine examples of electric guitar, including ventures into blues rock, with few overdubs. Overall, Wande has a trance-like feel with repetitive laid back sections, superb solos and fiery electric guitar parts.

Buy Wande

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Fatoumata Diawara Seeking Wider Appeal

Fatoumata Diawara – Fenfo (Shanachie, 2018)

Fenfo is the second solo album by Malian vocalist, songwriter, guitar player and actress Fatoumata Diawara. She is undoubtedly one of the greatest young singers in Mali and her vocal work throughout Fenfo is outstanding.

Musically, Fenfo is meant to appeal to a broader audience. There is a mixture of rootsy songs and pop. Although you can find some Malian percussion and a kamale kngoni on one track, most of the album features prominent electric guitars and some collaborations French cellist Vincent Segal.

Buy Fenfo

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Malian Guitar Maestro Vieux Farka Touré to Perform in Carrboro

Vieux Farka Touré – Photo by Thomas Arnbo

 

Celebrated Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré is set to perform on Thursday, March 1st at 8 PM at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, North Carolina. Vieux is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré.

 

Vieux Farka Toure – Samba

 

Vieux has become one of the finest guitarists in the world music scene. His most recent album is Samba, recorded live in front of a small audience at Applehead Studio in Woodstock, New York.

 

The ArtsCenter is located at 300-G E. Main Street in Carrboro.
For more information visit artscenterlive.org

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Oumou Sangaré to Perform at Celtic Connections 2018

Oumou Sangare – Photo by Benoit Peverelli

 

Acclaimed Malian vocalist Oumou Sangaré is set to perform at Celtic connections festival on January 30, 2018.

Sangaré returned from an 8-year recording respite in 2017 when she released her album Mogoya. The new album includes French production trio A.l.b.e.r.t. and celebrated Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen. Mogoya combines traditional Wassulu roots with vibrant rock, funk, soul, and dance beats.

 

Oumou Sangaré – Mogoya

 

Oumou Sangaré and Solo & Indrė
Tuesday. January 30
7:30 p.m.
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Main Auditorium
More information at /www.celticconnections.com

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Artist Profiles: Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe is an instrumental quintet based in Asheville, North Carolina that fuses West African music with American rock. The five members who are childhood friends and long-term musical collaborators who joined up in 25 have spent extended periods studying with musical luminaries in Mali Ivory Coast and Guinea and learning traditional instruments such as the kora (a 21-string harp) and the kamel ngoni (a West African lute).

Their recording ‘Live At The Orange Peel’ (2008) features eight previously unreleased tracks and continue to mix American rock with the West African musical traditions the band fell in love with on their travels. Along the way they explore the worlds of surf and zydeco. Live At The Orange Peel features collaborations with spoken word artist Umar Bin Hassan of The Last Poets and fiddler Rayna Gellert of Uncle Earl. It was produced by Grammy winning producer Steven Heller who also produced the band’s debut.

With many friends teachers and collaborators living in Mali and affected by the 2012 Malian crisis the band felt called to do something to help. Inspired by the encouragement of Toumani Diabate Toubab Krewe’s Luke Quaranta envisioned and launched Musicians for Mali, an initiative to increase awareness about the current crisis in Mali and raise money for refugees.

Teal Brown – drum set
Drew Heller – electric guitar and soku
Justin Perkins – kora kamelengoni and electric guitar
David Pransky – electric bass guitar
Luke Quaranta – percussion

Discography:

Toubab Krewe ‎(Upstream Records, 2005)
Live At The Orange Peel In Asheville, NC ‎(Upstream Records, 2008)
TK2 (Nat Geo Music, 2010)

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Artist Profiles: Tama

Tama

Tama was a Pan-African world fusion project made in the late 1990s. The Tama album Nostalgie came about when Tom Diakite (Mali), Sam Mills (UK) and Djanuno Dabo (Guinea Bissau) met while performing with Bengali master Paban Das Baul. According to Sam: “We had some spare time booked in a studio and played a few songs which were impromptu but sounded really good and were enough for us to convince Real World to record an album.”

Primarily based on singer and multi-instrumentalist Tom Diakite’s material, the album displays a combination of rhythms and influences from West Africa with European music elements. Tom said: “Originally I came from the same part of Mali as Oumou Sangare and Nahawa Doumbia, the Wasulu and the music I learned there was already a mix – something different from the mainstream Malian tradition. Now I use aspects of the tradition like the pentatonic scale adding some blues and non-Malian elements both in the vocals and in the guitar, piano, cello and ud instrumentation.”

Tama made a second and final album titled Espace (Real World, 2002).

Discography:

Nostalgie (Real World, 1999)
Espace (Real World, 2002)

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Fatoumata Diawara Releases End Slavery Video

Malian music star Fatoumata Diawara has a new music video titled “Djonya” (slavery in Bambara). The video denounces the atrocities perpetrated against the migrants coming mostly from sub-Saharan Africa and also provides a glimmer of hope to all those who are victims of these modern times.

On November 14, 2017, CNN broadcast an investigative report about the trafficking and sale of black migrants in Libyan slave markets. This has led to international condemnation of these human rights violations and UN investigations.

With “Djonya”, Fatoumata wishes to condemn this tragic situation. It is a song that defends the idea that every woman and every man belongs to the human race, regardless of color, ethnicity or religion and that every human being should be respected.

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