February 01, 2009


The first regional orchestra of the Mopti region of Mali was the Bani Jazz, named after the river that joins the Niger near Mopti. Founded after the coup d'état of 1968, Ali 'Farka' Touré was the first chef d'orchestre. He was also the first to exploit the enormous variety of traditional music from the Mopti region in a modern orchestra, with tracks like "Manden Po".

According to Ali (in an interview in 1989) things turned sour after two years, due to his relationship with Sory Bamba. When he discovered he lacked the support of the regional authorities, Ali left the orchestra. And the orchestra was taken over by Sory Bamba and renamed Orchestre Kanaga de Mopti.

The lp Kanaga recorded in 1977 for the Mali Kunkan label is certainly one of their best. It is also, unfortunately, one of the few in which the orchestra is credited and which is not -like the albums released on the Songhoy and Sonafric label- presented as a solo project by self-acclaimed superstar Sory Bamba.

I am somewhat cautious in labelling it The Best, because I suspect there may be more by Kanaga which at least I haven't (fully) discovered. After discovering some fragments of tracks on a cassette I bought in Bamako, I have been looking for more; but so far I have only found more of the same...
I am sure you will understand my frustration about this when you hear the two and a half minute fragment I have added as a bonus.

I have several versions of this lp and can't make up my mind which one to post. So here are two versions for you to download: the first is from a cassette I bought in 2000 and is at least almost complete (there is a bit missing in the track "Kanaga") and of a consistent quality.
Mali Kunkan KO 77.04.15

The second file consist of the best versions of several sources. The tracks "Gambari", "Sory Bamba" and "Sare Mabo" are so clean that one could be inclined to think they were reworked from an original tape. I have no idea if this is the case.
Mali Kunkan KO 77.04.15 (alternative) plus bonus track

EDIT November 10, 2012: The links have been renewed.


Anonymous said...

This is one I have been looking for...thanks for sharing. Great stuff.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me a fascinating album, many many thanks to include the two versions I am enjoying the double.
I thing the clean version could come from a ORTM tape in which was included the Rècital of Sèkou Amadou that we have another sample in Regional Orchestre Mopti (VM 30 33,3 Ls 2602. rpm), Gambari even has a similar atmosphere,talking a real Poular speech.
In fact it is quite normal in Mali to ask for a copy of any recording of the ORTM that any countryman interests.

calumbinho said...

Mmmm, excuse my ignoramce, NGONI, but what is ORTM exactly?

Anonymous said...

wonderful music many many thanks
from the one who requested this

Anonymous said...

Pardon, I do not have the didáctic capacity of a professional like WrldS and when I write in thepost, unconsciously I talk to WrldS.

l'Office de Radioduffusion Télévision du Mali (ORTM)

You can hear the Radio Maliene Chaine 2 LIVE in

noreille said...

This music is just about what inspires me... I won't thank you enough for all the wonderful shares you make. Makes me wanna share some of mines with you!

Thanks a lot.

noreille said...

Wow!... This is even better than I supposed when writting my precedent message. I'm speachless. Thank you again...

PS: frustration totally understood about the bonus track. "Somehow" I feel happy to be able to listen to these 2'30 minutes!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I've been looking for it for months--ever since I visited Mali last summer. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks infinitely and endlessly for posting this. Sounds like one of the best of the Malian Orchestres, which is certainly saying a lot.

And...oh my god, that tease of a fragment at the end is even better. Wow is that great, and how great it would be to hear that and the entire cassette from which it emanateth in its entirety.

Love Letters Journal said...

This is the good stuff -- ever since hearing Miriam Makeba's music from Guinea I've been a keen admirer of West African pop, without however the energy to ferret all these treasures out, so thanks for doing all the hard work for lazybones like me!