Words fail to express the sadness I felt at the news of the death of another great human being, talented musician and friend: Mamaye Kouyaté. I only heard this a few days ago, but it appears he died last month, after a prolonged illness.
Husband of that great diva of Malian music, Mah Damba (who featured in this earlier post), father of some very talented children and good friend of the late Alou Fané, who even named one of his children after him. It was Alou who introduced me to Mamaye and Mah, and right from the start they treated me like I had been a friend for years.
As a musical couple they were very well known, in Mali, but perhaps slightly more in Paris where they lived. While their intention has always been to stay close to tradition, living in Paris has meant that some compromises have been necessary to survive and live of what was essentially their purpose in life: being a griot or djeli. I know this has never been easy, but I can assure you this is not due to their (lack of) talent.....
This cassette is proof of this immense talent. It features both Mah and Mamaye in great form. I am told that this cassette was the basis for a cd called "Nyarela", but I have not heard this cd.
The title track "Nyarela" (after the quartier in Bamako) is one of my favourite tracks of Mamaye. This 22+ minute track is a monument of his skills as a ngoni player, as a traditional griot (talking), as an accompagnateur of his exceptional wife.
My condolences for Mah and family.
The world has lost a great musician, Mali a worthy cultural ambassador, and I a friend.
Paix à son âme.
Samassa IC 0397
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