December 07, 2008

Ensemble Instrumental National du Mali

Listening to the Ensemble Instrumental National du Mali on a record is like watching a movie on the screen of an iPod: you get an idea of the plot, but it can't compare to the experience of seeing it in the cinema. Seen live in Bamako the ensemble offers an extra dimension, not just in sound but also in vision.

The ensemble was founded in 1961 by order of president Modibo Keita. Talents from the wide range of Malian cultures were recruited and the ensemble soon became a prestigious ambassador for Malian culture. The early line-up consisted of musical virtuosos like kora legends Sidiki Diabaté (on the photo with the green scarf on his kora), Djelimadi Sissoko (left from Sidiki) and Batourou Sekou Kouyaté (left from Djelimadi), but also of singers like Fanta Damba (Koroba) (2 rows above Sidiki Diabaté, on the right of the singer with the gold bracelet), Nantenedie Kamissoko (behind Djelimadi Sissoko), Mokontafé Sacko (with the gold bracelet??) and Waldé Damba. In later years, the ensemble saw a stream of talent passing through, with great singers like Hawa Dramé (post coming up!), Tata Bambo Kouyaté, Wandé Kouyaté, Coumba Sidibé and Bako Dagnon.
Reports that Kandia Kouyaté was ever a member of the Ensemble have been contradicted by the vedette herself.

To give you an inkling of an idea of the visual brilliance of the ensemble here is a video from Malian television, recorded during a concert in the Palais de la Culture in Bamako. The singer is -the in my opinion underestimated- Djelimadi Sissoko (also known as Djelimadi Sissoko II, to distinguish him from the kora-player), one of the few (if not the only?) male singers with the Ensemble.

And here is a classic album of the legendary Mali Kunkan label. It contains the epic tale (in two parts) of Dah-Monzon, king of the Bambara of Segou, and his general Bakaridian.

I am not sure who are the lead singers in these tracks, but I suspect one of them is Nantenedie Kamissoko, and the other is one of my favorite Malian singers: Hawa Dramé.

KO 77.04.11 (new link November 27, 2011)


Anonymous said...

In this days the ORTM celebrates its 25th anniversary and is transmitting recordings of all its history, the radiotelevison of Mali, broadcasts by satellite in clear(open), if anyone has time and the technical means to record broadcasts,has a unique opportunity.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WrldServ said...

I'm afraid our receiver is directed towards the wrong satellite. But I will ask around.

I have shortened the name of the file, so there should be no problem with the download.

Anonymous said...

Eutelsat W3A at 7.0°E


Another :

Anonymous said...

thx for this great lp. but too much noise

Anonymous said...

WrldServ, do you have Bazoumana Sissoko(old lion I)?

WrldServ said...

Are you referring to the Bärenreiter-Musicaphon lp's? I will post these if you like, but there are older recordings by Bazoumanaba, which may be more interesting (?).

Anonymous said...

You right!i would be glad to hear it.

[1971] Musique du Mali. Volume 2. Banzoumana Sissòko. Le vieux lion. Volume 1.
[1971] Musique du Mali. Volume 3. Banzoumana Sissòko. Le vieux lion. Volume 2.
[1980] Lassissi presente Bazoumana Sissoko. Vol 1