December 19, 2008

Pioneers of Malian music (4)

As I have mentioned in an earlier post Alou Fané and Daouda 'Flani' Sangaré were the first to record kamalen n'goni music. The recordings were made in the studios of Radio Mali in 1968. But they were released a few years later, on an lp on the Disco Club Bagoué label in Abidjan.

The focus in this album is equally divided between Alou (sitting down playing the n'goni on the photo) and Flani (on the right looking down). Alou is the lead singer in four of the eight tracks. These are clearly 'his' tracks, with titles like "Komo" (referring to a -secretive rather than secret- initiation cult in which members of the blacksmith families have a special place) and "Noumousso" ("house of the blacksmith" - a track which he later used with the Super Djata Band). In some of these tracks Flani plays the kamalen n'goni.

This lp should make an end to a popular misconception, that the kamalen n'goni music is a 'watered-down' version of the dozon n'goni (hunters) music of the Wassoulou region. In all aspects this is a completely original music style, with links to local music styles of the Sikasso region. In future posts I intend to dig deeper into those local styles.

FT 001


trumpetaaa said...

wonderful music !!!!!
thank you thank you

paska said...

What a super post!!! Again!!
Do I dare to ask from you these other 22band releases from syliphone label? Super!

WrldServ said...

@pasi: I was on the verge of posting those, but have postponed those now, after the post on Global Groove. So hold on.

Anonymous said...

The album, really very appreciated, but a little confused explanations.
For years I have been looking for the difference between donzo-ngoni or donzon-koni and kamalen-ngoni, according to seems the main difference, is that donzo ngoni is used in the ceremony of hunters who are exclusive for men and kamalen-ngoni is used by the young people to compose songs to the girls, for the celebrations, weddings and other celebrations with women.
As far as the form of the instrument it seems that kamalen usually it is smaller and ample the 6 cords of donzo to 8 either or more.

But the kind of instrument is not the most important, in fact talking about Coumba Sidibe is seen accompanied by a Kamale Ngoni even when it did her husband, being the head of the brotherhood of hunters.
I have never seen written Dozon or kamelah)

WrldServ said...

@Ngoni: I am not sure I understand you.
Kamalen n'goni music is meant for entertainment and is mainly for youngsters (as the word 'kamalen' indicates), and the hunters music has a more ceremonial function.

All I was trying to say, is that the kamalen n'goni music style is in its original form not -as some state- a 'junior' or 'watered-down' version of the dozon n'goni music style. If you listen to this record, you will have no problems in hearing this, don't you agree?

The size/form of the instrument itself is -according to even the late Toumani Koné- irrelevant.

Of course there have been artists who have used dozon n'goni tunes in kamalen n'goni music (there are numerous examples of this). But kamalen n'goni music has absorbed a lot more styles.

As to the spelling of "dozo", I am transcribing the pronunciation of both Alou and Flani and others like Toumani Koné. None of these pronounced an "n" ("donso").