January 11, 2009


Some time ago a friend drew my attention to this passage in Banning Eyre's book "In Griot Time" about Dounanké Koita.
"Dounanke was raised in a family of musicians in a town called Tominian, east of Segu in Bobo country. He came to Bamako as a boy, and after many years of playing in wedding bands and as a support man in Manding and Bambara pop groups, Dounanke made his name at the age of thirty-five when he released his first cassette. The cassette was a rare recording of music from the Bobo, a people who straddle the borders dividing Mali, Cote D'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. That first cassette was produced, like so many succesful Bamako debuts, at Philippe Berthier's Studio Oubien, and it won Dounanke considerable play on radio and television at the time. But that was in 1992, and he hadn't followed up with a new release. "For now", he told me, "we do our work in the bars"."
I think he is selling Dounanké short when he writes about his history before recording this cassette. Because Dounanké was a respected rhythm guitarist with the Super Djata Band. One of his tracks, "Tindoro", features on the CD version of the Super Djata (studio) album. That version was instrumental, but during concerts the track was sung by Dounanké himself. Here is the track as it was performed in Amsterdam on November 11, 1985.

I assume the cassette Banning refers to is the one with Dounanké on one side and Mama Koita on the other.
The focus on the Mama Koita side is (as with Molobali Keita) on the Minianka music in which the balafon plays a major part. The side of Dounanké features Bobo rhythms, with Dounanké (as in "Tindoro") on talking drum.

I am not quite sure what has happened to Dounanké. I was told that he died; but I have had no confirmation about that. If it is true, it is another great loss....

Oubien BIEN 018


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing.



Anonymous said...

Dear friend Worldervice
I am afraid you confuse again the two Milady Music albums, the LP album Super Djata LIVE 87 was never relased out on CD and have not the Tindoro track, is in the 1985 LP released on CD in 1988 where we have Tindoro instrumental version.
Thank you for your work once again.

WrldServ said...

Of course you are right. I've also discovered the reason for this mistake. The folder on my computer with the cd has the wrong name...
I have corrected this now, and hopefully won't make the same mistake again.
I'll correct it in the post.

By the way: do you know if Dounanké is still alive?

Anonymous said...

I have not heard about Dounanké, but I found this video.


Anonymous said...

The first bala(fon) player in the photo on the cassette seems Zani Diabaté.

David said...

And a very belated thank you for this cassette! I've been listening to it round & round, very happy times! Side A is pretty good too (!) :-)