Acclaimed Malian band Songhoy Blues, has announced a short run of U.K. dates in January 2019.
Currently in the process of writing and recording their new album, their upcoming live dates follow their much talked about U.K. shows in2017 including a formidable set on the Park Stage at Glastonbury, a sold out headline show as part of the Summer Series at Somerset House in London, a tremendous success at the Liverpool Festival of Psychedelia and a performance at the Royal Albert Hall.
Songhoy Blues is a Malian desert blues band based in Bamako,
Mali formed by Garba Touré, Aliou Touré, Oumar Touré and Nathanael Dembélé
Songhoy Blues released its debut album, Music In Exile in
The second album, Résistance, was recorded in the fall of
2016 at The Pool studio in London with producer Neil Comber (MIA, Django
Django, Crystal Fighters, Declan McKenna) and also includes a guest appearance
from Elf Kid.
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.
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.
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, 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 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.
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.
Malian band Songhoy Blues is set to release its to release its second album ‘Résistance’ (Transgressive Records) in June. The recording features guest appearances from Iggy Pop, Elf Kid, and Stealing Sheep.
Résistance’ also includes string sections and a children’s choir.
Fado star Mariza, Malian band Songhoy Blues, Indian guitar maestro Debashish Bhattacharya and Sam Lee & friends are set to perform on October 3rd at Barbican Hall in London. These four world music acts are winners of this year’s Songlines Music Awards.
Launched in 2008, the Songlines Music Awards honor the diversity of musical talent across the globe featured in Songlines magazine. Votes for the Awards came in from Songlines readers, contributors and the general public.
Auditorium at University of Sheffield Student Union
26 February 2016
Where were the blues born? Were its rough-hewn riffs formed from the mud of the Mississippi delta, or do its origins lie in Africa, along the river Niger? Musicological conundrums aside, it is the people of the Niger basin who have a greater need for the blues’ cathartic lament today. In the West African state of Mali In 2012, a separatist movement snowballed into a radical Islamist campaign that conquered two-thirds of the country. Music – which provides the heartbeat of Malian culture – was banned under an extreme interpretation of Sharia law.
The response of Mali’s musicians is documented in the film They Will Have to Kill Us First, which provides the evening’s first act, playing to a teeming auditorium within Sheffield University’s Student Union. The film sets up Malian band Songhoy Blues to tell the story live, inspiring the audience to a studious engagement with Malian musical culture that gives way to dancing in the aisles.
They Will Have to Kill Us First opens with Songhoy Blues on scooters, cruising through the capital Bamako like Malian Mods. They carry their guitars with them, as if ready to unleash drive-by grooves on the occupants of the red dirt pavements. The film offers a music-as-unifying-force narrative amidst an exploration of the country’s near total fracture. As a young band drawn from different parts of Mali, Songhoy Blues seem to offer the best hope of a modern Mali that transcends the disunity. By the end of the film the young quartet have been picked up by the Damon Albarn driven Africa Express project and wowed the European festival scene. They have shown no signs of stopping since, releasing their debut album Music in Exile last year to considerable acclaim.
Songhoy Blues’ meteoric rise and youthful swagger bears comparison to a band that has graced many of the Steel City’s stages, the Arctic Monkeys. Where Alex Turner took inspiration from police riot vans, Songhoy Blues had machine-gun toting Toyota pickups to contend with. The band’s matinee idol impression is reinforced by the boy-band bar stools they occupy for their acoustic set. Since this is a Talking Gig – which offers reflection as well as rock – the initial atmosphere suits the lecture theatre-like venue and student dominated audience. Journalist Andy Morgan takes on the role of professor, skilfully spinning tales of Mali’s spirit world and medieval empire, which enrich the audience’s understanding of the music.
If you have heard of one Malian musician it will surely be guitar giant Ali Farka Touré, who emerged like a Hendrix of the Sahara in the 1970s, his music both urgent and antique. The African continent is commonly represented as the body of a guitar, and the iconic instrument remains the king of Malian music.
There is a certain guitar timbre that unmistakably evokes West Africa, its bright sound still characteristic of the DIY twang of the proto-guitars assembled from petrol drums and brake cables on the streets of Timbuktu and Gao. Songhoy’s guitarist Garba Touré – whose father was a percussionist in Ali Farka Touré’s band – summons the timeless tone from his acoustic guitar. Garba’s rippling riffs enter into dialogue with charismatic vocalist Aliou Touré, punctuating his vocal lines with short solos delivered in stuttering style.
Unexpected breaks and tempo changes enliven a blues template that can feel formulaic in its strictest western form. The band perform album track ‘Al Hassidi Terei’, which begins with a ‘Stairway to Heaven’ like arpeggio before igniting, like one of those well-worn moped engines, into a raucous gallop of a groove.
For the last three numbers Songhoy Blues rock out, kicking away their stools and summoning the audience to their feet. Nat Dembélé’s percussion playing and Oumar Touré’s bass then come into their own, their grooves bouncing across bar-lines to conduct the crowd’s convulsions. Amidst the celebratory atmosphere we recall Mali’s trauma, summed up by Aliou’s vocals on ‘Desert Melodie’; “Once upon a time Mali was a land of unity, now they want to divide us”. If there is a force that will help bring the country back together, it is up there on stage, as Songhoy Blues rock Sheffield.