August 03, 2010

More Djata

This is the sixth post dedicated to the music of the Super Djata Band ( 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5), and certainly not the last. Although I haven't checked, I think it is safe to say that this music is increasingly hard to find in Mali, - let alone outside of Mali. So besides sharing this music with you, conserving it for posterity is a motive for this post.

This lp is the second of two volumes which were released in the early 1980s by the Musique Mondiale label in Abidjan (Côte D'Ivoire), the first of which I posted in December 2009. There are only five tracks on this album and three of these are slow, - which for those of you who only know their European releases may come as something of a surprise. The two tracks on side A, "Yacouba" and "Konadou", have been repeated on a later album, which I posted in December 2008. Both these tracks are, however, considerably longer on this lp.

The B-side contains a cover of a song made famous by Coumba Sidibé, which can be found on the cassette I posted earlier. On that cassette the track is - probably erroneously - titled "Fakoye Noumouye" (which seems to refer to "Fakoly" and "Noumou", which in turn suggests that the song is about blacksmiths). On the Djata lp the more popular title of "Yamba" ("happiness") is used. I advise you to take the time to compare the two versions. Coumba's version was recorded and released a few years later than Flani's/Djata's versions and therefore may have a 'better' or cleaner sound. And Coumba is probably the singer with the more powerful voice. But I really like the pentatonic twists in Flani's version.

The second song, "Mali den", is sung by Mamadou 'Johnny' Diabaté, who with the Djata Band was responsible for the few Malinké songs in their repertoire.
"Bimoko Magnin", the last song on the album, is a rather bizarre duet of Alou Fané and Flani, with Flani singing in a falsetto voice.

Returning to the A-side, "Yacouba" is a song which was quite a success for the Djata Band in the early 1980s. It is an emotional tribute to Yacouba, a dancer of the Ballet National, who was killed by bandits in Dakar in 1973 at the age of 45. This Yacouba was the star of a dance called "Gomba", a sacred dance of the Bambara of Djitimou. Others who have passed away (Aboubacar Demba Camara, Sory Kandia Kouyaté and Biton's Sadio 'Aw' Traoré) were also commemorated in the song. Those who have seen the Djata Band during their 1980s concerts in Europe and Japan may remember the emotional moment when the whole band knelt down during this song. Flani in 1987 recalled a performance in Bamako when large parts of the audience started crying; he himself felt the tears rolling down his cheeks...

Here is a video, of a concert recorded by Malian television in the early 1980s, of the Djata Band playing this song. The quality of this video is unfortunately very poor, but the music and the performance should amply compensate for this...


Personally I have great difficulties watching this video, with memories of Flani and Alou, who have both joined Yacouba, blurring my vision....

There is one song remaining in this album: "Konadou". This is a song which strongly reminds me of Alou Fané. Listening to the version on this album you will probably be asking why, as Flani is the lead vocalist and Alou doesn't even sing in the chorus. But if you listen to the version of this song recorded live during a concert in the Melkweg in Amsterdam, on March 20, 1987, and more specifically to Alou's 'climactic intervention' after 5'20, you will probably understand why I associate this song with this great (and sadly missed) man.

Musique Mondiale MAD 004

"Konadou" live 1987

10 comments:

øשlqaeda said...

superb as ever. thank you very much

icastico said...

Djata is consistently my favorite of the bands you post...and that is saying quite a bit. Thanks as always.

Feq'wah said...

My favorite music from Mali i'd say.

Thanks for sharing!

aduna said...

Hello,

Super Djata is really amazing. Great singers, incredible guitarist (Zani Diabate is magic) and fantastic show in concert.
Thanks a lot.

Radio Africa said...

Thank you so much for posting this video. A great song and clip.

Anonymous said...

i second the comment by aduna - this band is great and the guitarist is incredible. gracias!

calumbinho said...

Wow, even though I was really excited to see this one posted, I didn't get a chance to listen to it till now, and it's blown me away. What an wonderful band, they never fail to amaze me. Really looking forward for more. Thanks!

Brad Loving said...

I took a trip to Mali last year and happened upon three records by Djata. Those records are astounding. It's really nice to have some more information about them. Thanks so much

Anonymous said...

if I'd gone to my grave not having heard this band, I'd be pissed. Thank you, good sir.

Flash Strap said...

Many many thanks, sir.