August 30, 2011

Title (no longer) unknown

The cassette I would like to share with you in this post was a major source of inspiration for me to want to dig deeper into the music of Mali. I copied it from a Malian living in Amsterdam in the mid-1980s. I remember he complained that a lot of Malian music was "talk talk talk". I assumed he meant he was no fan of the "Regard Sur Le Passé" genre. I, however, was new to this phenomenon, and was - and still am - intrigued by the combination of epic and music. The epic part was (and still largely remains) a mystery to me, but the music.... Well, what can I say? It was love at first hearing.

A little later I discovered that some of the tracks of this cassette were also available on lp. The lp being the Bärenreiter-Musicaphon version of a Malian original, by the Orchestre Régional de Ségou. The cassette had "Super Biton" written on it, but it was clear that this was the same ensemble.

To be honest, I still prefer the cassette.
And not just because of the absence of the irritating fake applause on "Da Monzon". But mainly because of the titles on the B-side.

The cassette is undisputable proof of the Greatness of the regional orchestre of Ségou. An orchestra that can come up with a majestic, or even imperial, beginning like the one of the second or the fifth song on the B-side, should have at least a museum to preserve their legacy and to glorify their name.

Unfortunately nothing of the sort has happened to Super Biton. As I reported in an earlier post the orchestra fell apart in the late 1980s, and it is nowadays hard to find any traces of the orchestra in Mali, other than indirect references*.
I hasten to add though that attempts are being made to revive the orchestra, albeit in a leaner version. I'll keep you informed.

At one point I found someone who gave me the titles of the tracks on the B-side, but unfortunately the list got lost somewhere between Bamako and Amsterdam, along with assorted other items of my luggage. Perhaps there is someone who can help us out with these?

As a bonus I add another version of "Bakari Dian", which is from a cassette recorded at my request in 1990 at Radio Mali. It is perhaps hard to recognise, but it is - unless I am very much mistaken - the same version as the one on "Regard sur le passé à travers le présent".

"Bakari Dian" (Malian cassette earlier 1980s)

And finally as an extra bonus I am adding a FLAC version of the Bärenreiter-Musicaphon lp.

BM 30 L 2601

* and while on the subject of videos, you may want to take a look at this 1990 video by the last remnants of Biton. Certainly worthwhile.

EDIT November 13, 2011: I had to change the title of this post, as I have retrieved the names of the songs of this cassette. In meeting the members of the orchestra in Bamako, I was able to sit down with them and listen to the cassette. Toussaint Siané, with the help of the other singers (and especially doyen Mamadou 'Coulou' Coulibaly), wrote down the missing titles. The version with the titles can be found here: Bakari Dian (Malian cassette 198x)

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welcome back

FrancoPepeKalle said...

So glad you are back. Keep up the good work WrldSrv. Maybe you should post more about Salif Kalita in 1970s and 1980s as well as Verkys.

Anonymous said...

Glad you' re back, Stefan

A.

Rhythm Connection said...

Delighted to see you again, Stefan. What a magnificent reentry!

best,
robert

bolingo69 said...

Like all the other friends here I also think it is very nice to so you back again!

I hope all your computer and connections, webprovider, well all that is in the way for enjoyment of the wonderful music you share has been solved and will never again haunt you and us!
Welcome back and Eid mubarak!

Tim said...

What a pleasure it is to see you back with another informative post. Your knowledge, research and passion for great music have been sorely missed.

øשlqæda said...

back w/ a bang. heart thanks + blessings from new mexico

jan duinkerken said...

not only good music, also very good words, as always. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Stefan, your great blog posts have been much missed!

Marc

jan duinkerken said...

And also many thanks for the FLAC! Great!

reservatory said...

The Mali orchestra records in this series are all extraordinary (as are the Kunkan ones) so THANKS for both the cassette and flac lp upgrade. Amazing stuff.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back!!!
HOPE YOU ARE GOOD...
MANY, MANY THANKS!!!
Kostas from Greece.

NGONI said...

Welcome friend,last nightI went to sleep doubly pleased,
my favorite blog is up and sharing the treasures of Segou,same music that I'm driving the last two weeks.

But curiously, the song that I recognized (b4) does not correspond to Segou,at the start is mixed with Bambara but sung in Sonraï,this is a well known song of Fissa Maiga, Djiri Mardie.

WrldServ said...

@Ngoni: I am afraid I don't hear the resemblance to the Fissa Maiga song. I may have another version (old cassette copied from Farka).

But hearing Sonraï songs in Ségou is not so strange. There is more to the region than just bambara...

WrldServ said...

@Ngoni: I see I have a later version (Samassa cassette) too, but still I don't hear a resemblance.

internetbob said...

Welcome back !!!

Lestorian said...

Fantastic! Welcome back, you were missed. Now if only we could get some fresh stuff up at "anthems for the nation of..." cough cough mr bolingo69! Seriously, though, I was jonesing for some new tunes, this is great!

james said...

welcome back...and thanks for this great archive !

Anonymous said...

wonderful - you are back!!! Many thanks!

Bernd

David said...

Good to see you back, and with quality of music & commentary as high as ever. This blog is a real joy!

Kabaka Mwanga II said...

After reading and listening to Malian Music through this blog for years I recently watched a documentary on Malian people and I could feel some of this blog in the story. Places and people I heard of here first.

Welcome back Stefan Wrldsrv.

Prof Babacar said...

Too bad, the dl link is broken @ Megaupload.
You deserved your place in this colloque.
Keep up the good work

WrldServ said...

@Prof. Babacar: It appears there was a slight 'hiccup' in the linking to Megaupload, because the link looks okay to me...

NGONI said...

Ha ha, I came to bring a missing title, Waraba Tchacho, there was no news of the update, via comments.
That also, I was right, for Dilimardje interesting the remainder, thanks.