Posts Tagged ‘Mali’

playlist #116 (5/24/10)-africa, pt. 3

May 24, 2010
World of Music
Pgm #116 – The latest installment in our occasional series exploring the multitude of sounds from Africa
Catch the show on Mondays 3-5pm EDT – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
African Vision: Africa / African Vision / Ethno World Music 4008 – (WORLD FUSION)
Baloji: Tout Ceci Ne Vous Rendra Pas Le Congo / Kinshasa Succursale / EMI 68613 – (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
Mahotella Queens: Mbube (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) / Sound Offerings from South Africa, vol. 2 / Gallo Record Company 632 – (SOUTH AFRICA)
Atongo Zimba: Guuse, en sugro / Barefoot In The Sand / Hippo Records 1055 – (GHANA)
The Anambra Beats: Ayamma / Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Nigerian Blues / Soundway 9 – (NIGERIA)
Trio Tambours: Oust / Port du Capricorne / (demo) – (LA RÉUNION)
Chiwoniso: Karima (Planting) / Rebel Woman / Cumbancha 8 – (ZIMBABWE)
Victor Démé: Deni Mouke Ila / Victor Démé / Chapa Blues 2008 – (BURKINA FASO)
Bako Dagnon: Bélébélé / Titati / Discograph 6099245 – (MALI)
The LA Drivers Union Por Por Group: Por Por Akwaaba (Welcome) / Por Por Honk Horn Music from Ghana / Smithsonian Folkways 40531 – (GHANA)
(Four Shi musicians from the Bantu Tribe in Congo): Uni Urmi / Music of the Shi People / Alula Origins 5008 – (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars: Watching All Your Ways / Rise & Shine / Cumbancha 18 – (SIERRA LEONE) *NEW*
Master Drummers of Africa: Imichingo (Dust Devil) / Master Drummers of Africa, vol. 2: Ubuntu / Arc Music 2280 – (TANZANIA, GHANA, etc.) *NEW*
Maria de Barros: Funana Ca Tem Frontera / Morabeza / Sheer Group 2009 – (CAPE VERDE)
Lulendo: Angola / Angola / Buda Musique 2005 – (ANGOLA)
Ba Cissoko featuring Tiken Jah Fakoly: Africa / Electric Griot Land / 3D Family Music 2005 – (MALI)
Tarika: Koba / Rough Guide to the Indian Ocean / Rough Guide 1086 – (MADAGASCAR)
Ghorwane: Mayvavo / Mozambique Relief / Naxos World 76019 – (MOZAMBIQUE)
Manou Gallo: Chanter L’Amour (Love Song) / Manou Gallo / Zig Zag World 1 – (IVORY COAST)
Papa Wemba: Esclave (Slave) / Molokai / Real World 2373 – (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
Issa Bagayogo: Touba / Tassoumakan / Six Degrees 6570361103 – (MALI)
Terakaft: Arghane Manine / Akh Issudar / World Village 468084 – (MALI) *(written by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, lead singer from Tinariwen)
Habib Koité: Africa / Afriki / Cumbancha 5 – (MALI)
Dobet Gnahoré: Têlo Dé / Na Afriki (My Africa) / Cumbancha 4 – (IVORY COAST)
Orchestra Baobab: Papa Ndiaye / Made in Dakar / World Circuit 433788 – (SENEGAL)
The Waves Band: Angba Langar / Only A Dream / Kelele Records / 31004 – (SEYSCHELLES ISLANDS)

na afriki (my africa)

May 23, 2010

Africa: a continent of 54 countries with more than a billion people speaking a thousand separate languages, and over 150 native dialects.

It follows that the music would be just as diverse and eclectic.

This week’s World of Music treks across the second largest continent on the globe, in our third dedicated exploration of the sounds of Africa including Zimbabwe’s Chiwoniso, South Africa’s Mahotella Queens, the griot families of Mali, and the cross-pollinated Afro-Latin rhythms of West Africa. We’ll also make stops in Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Ghana, La Reunion, and the Seyschelles Islands.

World of Music is a pan-dynamic diaspora of blues, poetry, jazz, and world music every Monday from 3-5pm ET on the Radiator. Online, or at 105.9FM if you’re listening in Burlington, VT.

playlist #92 (12/7/2009)-year-end 2009 review

December 11, 2009
World of Music
Pgm #92 – Reviewing some of 2009’s top world recordings
Listen Mondays 3-5pm EDT  – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry
: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / (download) –  (USA / SENEGAL)
Ska Cubano: Istanbul (Not Constantinople) / Ay Caramba! / Cumbancha 1 – (CUBA)
Pistolera: No Suspires (No Sighs) / Siempre Hay Salida / 2006 – (NY CITY)
Tchavolo Schmitt: Antsela /French Essentials / BurexJazz 5 – (FRANCE)
Abdul Aziz Al Mubarek: Bitgoolila / Abdul Aziz Al Mubarek / GlobeStyle Records 23 – (SUDAN)
Telmary Diaz: Que Equivoca’o / A Diario / DM Ahora Records 3 – (CUBA)
Béaturia: Teléphone / MIDEM Sampler / 2008 – (SPAIN)
Bole 2 Harlem: Ya Selam / Volume 1 / Sounds of the Mushroom v.1 – (ETHIOPIA)
Shruti Sadolikar: Raga Bhairavi / Shruti Sadolikar / Nimbus 5346 – (INDIA)
Easy Star All-Stars featuring Sugar Minott: When I’m Sixty-Four / Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band / Easy Star Records 21622 – (JAMAICA)
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs: Arde Buenos Aires / Lo Esencial Los Fabulosos Cadillacs / norte  706443 – (ARGENTINA)
Rokia Traoré: Tounka / Tchamantché / Universal 530 785 – (MALI)
Klazz Brothers & Cuba Percussion: Mambozart (on Mozart’s Symphony #40) / Classic Meets Cuba / Sony 93090 – (CUBA)
Chango Spasiuk: Alvear Orilla, Estancia Santa Maria, Tío Marcos, La Ratonera / Pynandí / World Village 468083 – (ARGENTINA) *2009 release*
Tinariwen: Lulla / Imadiwan: Companions / World Village 468096 – (MALI) *2009 release*
Willie Colón: Cuando Me Muera / El Malo vol. II / Lone Wolf Records 804 – (CUBA) *2009 release*
Angelique Kidjo: Zelie / Oyo / N/A *DEMO* – (BENIN) * preview – coming out in 2010 *
Debashish Bhattcharya: Milaap / O Shakuntala! / Riverboat Records 1053 – (INDIA) *2009 release*
K’Naan: Take a Minute / Troubadour / A&M Octone / 12478 – (SOMALIA) *2009 release*
Oumou Sangare: Kounadya / Seya / Nonesuch 519650 – (MALI) *2009 release* – Grammy nominee, Best Contemporary World Music Album
Syran Mbenza & Ensemble: Rumba Kongo / Zozo Visi / Immortal Franco: Africa’s Unrivaled Guitar Legend / Riverboat Records 1050 – (CONGO) *2009 release*
Jon Balke & Amina Alaoui: A la Dina Dana / Siwan / ECM 2042 – (NORWAY / MOROCCO) *2009 release*
Les Léopards: D’Leau Coco (Coconut Milk) / Tumbélé: Biguine, Afro and Latin Sounds from the French Caribbean, 1963-74 / Soundway 17 – (MARTINIQUE) *2009 release*
Mamane Barka: Wo Kuru / Introduucing Mamane Barka / World Music Network 114 – (NIGER) *2009 release*
Kailash Kher & Kailasa: Kaise Main Kahoon (How Do I Say It?) / Yatra (Nomadic Souls) / Cumbancha 14 – (INDIA) *2009 release*
Omara Portuondo featuring Jorge Drexler: Gracias / Gracias / World Village 479021 – (CUBA) *2009 release* – Latin Grammy winner, Best Traditional Tropical Album
…and listen for more new 2009 world releases in the next show!


November 8, 2009

The description in the program is as much an explanation, as it is a mission statement: “In the Bambara language of Mali, ‘Jeh Kulu’ means ‘community’ “.

For the last 15 years Jeh Kulu has been dancing and drumming and sharing the music and culture of West Africa in classes, First Night and numerous other  appearances around the state, along with their annual Dance and Drum Festival. This year’s event is called “Duniya Lahnee” – “Peace in the World”. It’s dedicated to the people of Guinea, with the horrifying events of September 28th and their aftermath a sad and shocking reminder that human rights are still far from being “rights” in too many places in the world.

The final concert for this year’s festival happened last night at Burlington’s Contois Auditorium, two hours of seamless vignettes unfolding on themes of oppression, alliance, acceptance – and community. Jeh Kulu’s performances are typically packed with enough energy output to give Yankee some serious competition (and hey, none of those messy leaks), as top-level musicianship and dancing electrify the performers and audience members alike.

The annual festival itself concludes today at City Hall in a series of master classes. If it sounds interesting at all I’d say get on down there and check it out – “community”, after all, is about participation:

Sunday, November 8
10 -11:30      – Dance with Oumar N’Diaye
11:45 – 1:15 – Dance with Babacar N’Diaye
11:45 – 1:15  – Balafone with Famaro Diabate
1:30 – 3:00   – Dance with Djeneba Sacko
1:30-3:00     – Advanced Drum with Kolipe Camara
3:15 – 4:45    – Women’s Sangban Drum with Seny Daffe
5:00 – 6:30   – Dance with Moustapha Bangoura

the first minute of a new day

October 25, 2009

Gil-Scott HeronIt’s poetry and music this week on World of Music, featuring Gil-Scott Heron’s classic, The First Minute of a New Day, and more from the new Vermont-made collection Last Days: Live from the Black Door.

New releases from India, Colombia, and Mali also play into the mix along with dub versions of classics from The Beatles and Prince.

World of Music is blues, jazz, poetry, and world music every Monday on the Radiator, 3-5pm ET. Online, or at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT.

playlist #82 (9/21/2009) – last day of summer!

September 21, 2009
Kailash Kher
World of Music
Pgm #82 – Fun in the Sun: welcoming tomorrow’s autumn equinox with the last summer world party music of the season
Listen Mondays 3-5pm EDT  – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
The Blind Boys of Alabama (with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band): Uncloudy Day / Down in New Orleans / Time Life 19548 – (N’AWLINS)
Marcia Griffiths: I Shall Sing / Truly / Heartbeat 11611 – (JAMAICA)
The Jolly Boys: Ripe Tomato / Sunshine ‘n’ Water / Ryko 10187 – (JAMAICA)
Rupa & The April Fishes: La Linea / Este Mundo / Cumbancha 15 – (SAN FRANCISCO, USA) *NEW – preview, not yet released! *
Kronos Quartet: Nihavent Sirto (Trad. Turkish) / Floodplain / Nonesuch 518349 – (SAN FRANCISCO /TURKEY) *NEW*
Simone Lo Porto: Il Girasole (The Sunflower) / Italia / Putumayo 290 – (ITALY) *NEW*
Sidestepper: San Juan Good Vibe Mix / La Buena Vibra Sound System / Sony 88697 – (COLOMBIA)
Belgistan: Iggy Bop / Musiques et Danses du Belgistan / 1003 – (BELGIUM)
NG La Banda: No me Molestas Más / The Best of NG La Banda / Hemisphere 21391 – (CUBA)
Calypso Rose featuring Soft/Fred Deshayes: Summertime / Calypso Rose / CMG 2308 – (TOBAGO)
Indian Ocean: Khajuraho / Kandisa / Times Music, India 1 – (INDIA)
Alicia Villareal: Pepe LePew / Cuando el Se Cruza / Universal    2264 – (MEXICO)
Rajery: Sofera / Sofera / Marabi 46820 – (MADAGASCAR)
Ensemble La Perfecta: Jojo / Tumbélé / Soundway 17 – (GUADELOUPE) * NEW – preview – being released in early October *
Emily Loizeau: Dis-moi Que Toi Tu Ne Pleures Pas (Tell Me You’re Not Crying Anymore) / Pays Sauvage / Opendisc-Polydor 531407 – (FRANCE) *NEW*
Giorgio Conte: Gnè, Gnè / Il Contestorie / Historie di Note 30 – (ITALY)
Mariachi “Arriba Juárez”: Tenías Que Ser Tan Cruel / Gracias, Juan Gabriel! / Spartacus 27006 – (MEXICO)
Emeline Michel: Moso Maman / Cordes et Ame / Cheval de Feu 1 – (HAITI)
Kailash Kher & Kailasa: Kar Kar Main Haara / Yatra (Nomadic Souls) / Cumbancha 14 – (INDIA) *NEW – preview, not yet released! *
Niyaz: Arezou /Niyaz / Six Degrees 657036 – (IRAN)
Ralph Thamar: Les Enfants du Soleil (Children of the Sun) / Mega Zouk / Stemra 3005012 – (FRENCH WEST INDIES)
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band: Work Song / An Anthology-The Elektra Years / Elektra 62124 – (USA)
Tinariwen: Chet Boghassa / Amassakoul / Triban Union 14 – (WESTERN SAHARA)
Rokia Traoré: Koronoko / Tchamantché / Emarcy 530785 – (MALI)
Kaya: Sensé / Rough Guide to the Music of the Indian Ocean / Rough Guide 1086 –  (LA RÉUNION)

playlist #78 (8/17/2009) – hot tunes for the dog days

August 17, 2009
World of Music
Pgm #78 – The show returns from summer hiatus with new tunes for the dog days. Yeah, it’s hot. That’s a drag. Might as well dance.
Listen online Mondays 3-5pm EDT at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / – (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Tiempo Libre: Tu Conga Bach (on Bach’s Fugue in c minor) / Bach in Havana / Sony 44701 – (CUBA) *NEW*
Klazz Brothers & Cuba Percussion: Beethoven’s “Für Elise” / Classic Meets Cuba / Sony 93090 – (CUBA)
Omara Portuondo & Richard Bona: Drume Negrita / Gracias / World Village 479021 – (CUBA) *NEW*
Los Destellos: Para Elisa (on Beethoven’s Für Elise) / The Roots of Chicha / Barbès Records 16 – (PERU)
Third World: 96 Degrees in the Shade / 96 Degrees in the Shade / Mango 162-539 – (JAMAICA)
Soap Kills: Cheftak / Cheftak / Soapkills 2002 – (LEBANON)
Sarazino: Ecos de Radio Iguana / Ya Foy! (“No problem!”) / Cumbancha Discovery 13 – (ECUADOR / CANADA) *NEW* – special preview – to be released on Aug. 25th *
Susan McKeown & Lorin Sklamberg: Buenos Aires / Saints & Tzadiks / World Village 468089 – (IRELAND / BROOKLYN, NY) *NEW*
La Bottine Souriante: Les Robineaux / Anthologie II / Mille-Pattes 2044 – (QUÉBEC)
The Waitiki 7: Coronation / Adventures in Paradise / Pass Out Records 7001 – (HAWAII) *NEW*
Kimi Djabaté: Fatu (Tribute to Fatumata) / Karam / Cumbancha Discovery 12 – (GUINEA-BISSAU) *NEW*
Hadouk Trio (featuring Malouma) : Tourneblues / Baldamoree / Naïve 812891 – (FRANCE/ARMENIA/MAURITANIA) *NEW*
Les Triaboliques: Black Earth Boys / RiverMudTwilight / World Village 468088 – (UK/WORLD FUSION) *NEW*
Glaz: Holen Ar Bed (“Salt of the Earth”) / Le Sel de la Terre / Radio France 8424742 – (BRITTANY)
Los Amigos Invisibles: Mango Cool / Sound of the Venezuelan Gozadera / Luaka Bop 46839 – (VENEZUELA)
Diaouled ar Menez: Rondes de Loudéac / Chauffe la Breizh! / Coop Breizh 875 – (BRITTANY)
Grupo Galé: Volver, Volver (“Return, return”) / Salsa! / Putumayo 289 – (COLOMBIA) *NEW*
Obrador: Red Licorice / Live in Havana / (self-produced) 1998 – (CUBA)
Oumou Sangaré: Wele Wele Wintou / Seya / Nonesuch 519650 – (MALI) *NEW*
Xistra de Coruxo: Foliada de Tenorio / Adicado… Do Fol Edicións 8 – (SPAIN)
DJ Frane: A Story I Heard/Take a Look/Luminous Particles / Journey to the Planet of Birds / (self-produced) 2008 – (USA)

festivus for the (jam-baddest) restivus

July 18, 2009

Presenting the opening night grande finale for Festivus for the Restivus: Toubab Krewe. Steeped in the jam band tradition of the Grateful Dead and Phish, trained in Mali, and based in Asheville, North Carolina, these folks are a tight band combining traditional West African instruments and the groove of Western pop aesthetics. Their set began around 1:40am. It was so much fun I didn”t even realize the time until quite a bit later when it was time to leave for the night.

Before I forget to mention it, you’ve probably noticed by now in the pictures here that the Festivus stage was very striking. It really was. Nice job, folks, for all of the attention to creating a complete experience with the visual and audio. The great stage decoration and lighting were as memorable as the music.

Festivus wraps up tomorrow with Earl “Chinna” Smith  and Friends (11-Noon) and (Noon-1:30) the Jazz Criminals.

festivus: featuring the wassoulou queen

July 18, 2009

Oumou Sangare, the 'Wassoulou Queen'

Oumou Sangare at Festivus

This year’s Festivus for the Restivus festival has been called the “Manifestivus”, in reflection of the scope and the weight of the offerings in their 7th anniversary season. That’s even the name of the website: If they had called it the Megamanifestivus it would underestimate the power of the experience.

Arnaud, Oumou's cool audio engineer

Arnaud, Oumou's cool audio engineer

I’m still a bit in disbelief today – did I really see that, do that, hear all of that last night? I did. The pictures on my camera today prove it even if it seems like it was a dream.

Several months ago I remember hearing that Oumou Sangaré was coming to Vermont for this year’s festival. It didn’t seem likely (much less possible, she so rarely tours!) and I put the thought out of my mind. Only recently was I reminded again of the rumor, which by then was no longer a rumor. It had become the buzz: it was true, Oumou was coming to Vermont for Festivus.    

In recent weeks Oumou and her 10-piece band have been at the Montreal Jazz Festival, in Toronto, Central Park, and many other places on tour with their newest release, Seya. I’ve heard it, and I really like it. But nothing compares to hearing the same songs coming to life in the energy of  a live set. With themes of women’s equality and empowerment, personal strength, and love, the songs are rhythmically complex and irresistably catchy. They’re also very instrumentally rich, with the kora, soku, gita, and calabash drums giving the music its distinctly West African flavor. What a special treat to actually see all of those instruments being played.

Before the show started I spent a little time keeping dry under the edge of the tent protecting the sound board. I met Arnaud, the engineer traveling with Oumou Sangaré’s group on this tour. Like many of the other visitors at the Festivus festival, he remarked on the quality of both the equipment and the on-site crew. Every bit of that came through in the show. There were some intermittent feedback issues throughout the set, particularly with Oumou’s mic. But consider that it was opening night, with a largely volunteer crew, in an open-air stage under persistent and sometimes heavy showers. In the middle of a hay field!

The spotty feedback proved to be the only setback when the conditions (lots of water + lots of electrical equipment = not good) were  just right for there to be so many more.

That’s success.

(all photos by B. anc C. Willoughby)


Further reading on Oumou Sangaré:

NPR Music

afternoon with a griot

April 26, 2009

4/25/09-Toumani Diabaté in Burlington

4/25/09-Toumani Diabaté in Burlington

If there’s a single word to summarize the profound effect that regional culture has in shaping its native music, I haven’t found it. Not before yesterday, that is. Now I believe that influence may very well be described in the word “griot” – at least when we’re talking about music from Mali.

The warmest day of the year so far in Burlington (over 80°F – ugh) brought shoppers, cyclists, and folks of every other sun-loving pursuit to downtown yesterday. As the streets and sidewalks crawled with deliriously revitalized springtime activity, the Amy E. Tarrant gallery offered cool, quiet sanctuary to around 40 attendees with the latest in the Flynn Theatre’s ongoing series of pre-concert “INsight” discussions.

The afternoon’s guest of honor was the Malian kora master and storyteller, Toumani Diabaté. As he shared his own story over the next half hour it was readily apparent that he viewed his part of the timeline just the most recent chapter in a much longer, much more involved narrative that began with his first relatives, some 71 generations ago in the 13th c. kingdom of West Africa. Diabaté is a griot (or ‘djeli‘), a musician by patrilineal birthright. So was his father, and so is his son.

Griots are the vested oral historians of Mali, responsible for maintaining the culture as well as commenting on it, and passing on their knowledge and musical skills to the males of the next generation. In an illustration of the vital relationship between griots and their land, Diabaté raised his left hand, swept the length of his torso, and said “if West Africa was a body, the djeli would be the blood”.

The main voice of the griot tradition is the kora, a resonant, modally-tuned instrument with a light texture and fluidity often compared to a harp. With 21 nylon strings and a resonator made from the huge, bulbous hull of a hollowed-out, half-calabash – it’s a striking instrument in both looks and sound. Why is it played facing the performer, instead of outward facing listeners like other simliar instruments (the banjo, or guitar for example)?

4/25/09-Diabaté demonstrating the 'front' of the kora

4/25/09-Diabaté demonstrating the 'front' of the kora

As with most things in the griot culture, history and folklore each have a hand in informing the answer: Diabaté described the time very early in the tradition’s development when the kora was actually an instrument commonly played by the women musicians of neighboring Guinea, and how they gave one to the newly crowned Mandinka Prince in the mid-13th c. as a gift at the start of the Malian empire. Since that time it’s been an instrument handed down through the male ancestors, and it’s played facing the musician, “as if creating an intimate conversation between lovers”.

I listened to Diabaté’s solo performance yesterday afternoon (and last night at the Flynn, with his full 8-piece electrified Symmetric Orchestra) a little differently, after learning more about what I was hearing. The kora is played with only four fingers: both thumbs, and both index fingers. The other three fingers in each hand grip the long pegs on either side of the neck to keep it upright during performance. The left thumb plucks out the bass line; the right thumb plays the melody. That leaves both index fingers free to improvise over the top of the bass and melody.

When Diabaté plays with his Orchestra, the bassline of his left thumb is doubled by the electric bass; the melodic line of the right thumb is doubled by the electric guitar, and the flights of improvisational fancy allowed his index fingers is matched (and THEN some, to my ears) by the virtuosic sonorities of the group’s balafon player.

Listening to a kora under any circumstance is delightful, but seeing it being played, and understanding a little about the mechanics of the musicianship is absolutely enchanting. I hope you, too, are fortunate enough to have the opportunity sometime! More than an instrument, the kora is a chorus of voices, playing with and against each other in a strumming, thrumming, multi-layered conversation of music.

Would you expect anything less, for an instrument that speaks for over 700 years of people and their culture?

A final thought from Monsieur Diabaté: “If you can learn a song on the kora, you are a master. But you have to be born a griot.”


For listening:

with guitarist/singer Taj Mahal: Kulanjan, 1999

with trombonist Roswell Rudd: Malicool, 2001

with guitarist Ali Farka Toure: In the Heart of the Moon, 2005 (Grammy winner, best traditional world music album)

solo: The Mandé Variations, 2008 (Grammy nominee)

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