March 19, 2009

Batourou Sekou Kouyaté

Although this post is supposed to be about one of the greatest kora players of all times (and all places too), one can easily be distracted by an artist who has -long after this recording- become a world-wide star of popular music. Because one of the singers on this lp by the ensemble of Batourou Sekou Kouyaté is none other than Mory Kanté (see this post).

This record was released in 1975, and probably recorded a year earlier. So this is from the time when Mory had already joined the Rail band and had replaced Salif Keita as the lead singer (Salif had left in 1973).

Born near Kissidougou in Guinea into a family of griots, Mory had been sent to Bamako in the 1960s to stay with his aunt, singer Manamba Kamissoko, and to learn the griot métier. He played in a band called the Apollos, until he was 'discovered' by Tidiane Koné, the chef d'orchestre of the Rail Band.
In the early 1970s he became more and more interested in the kora, and even more when he heard Batourou Sekou Kouyaté, who was the father of a friend. Legend has it that he learned to play the instrument on Batourou's kora. According to Mory himself, the kora which he uses on stage was given to him by the kora legend in 1974.

I am not sure about the names of the musicians on this lp, but I suspect the female singer on these superb and rare recordings (featuring classic interpretations of "Keme Bourema", "Belebele", "Djandjon", "Wara" and "Koulandjan") is Nantenegwe Kamissoko, who presumably is a cousin of Mory.

No doubt coached by the brilliant Malian kora master, Mory manages to pluck emotional strings which in my opinion very few of his later recordings have been able to touch....

Makossa KR 28 or (MF) here


icastico said...

Looks like a good one.
Thanks as always.

Anonymous said...

Do you still remember my demand for Bazoumana Sissoko?
Thank you for Batourou Sekou Kouyate

Anonymous said...

One correction: according to Eric Charry's book on Mande music, the Apollos weren't one band; they were a trend of many small bands that played in Bamako in the 60s.

avocado kid said...

Great Post! thanks and have a fabulous weekend.

WrldServ said...

@Anonymous: Your name keeps popping up in these comments ☺... Even if you don't have an ID or don't want to use it, please use a name in the comment.

The Bazoumana post is coming soon. I have been looking for a snippet of video I have of this legend.

@the second anonymous: I am sure you are right. Mory talked about "les Apollos" and I interpreted this as the name of a band.

Anonymous said...

Youssou N'dour look-a-like?

Anonymous said...

Mory Kante, from the third track (Djandjon)is singing fantastic,in the first two tracks,do not feel very committed, perhaps the "maestro" was more accustomed to playing alone.

Thank you very much for an exceptional document.

Anonymous said...

Batorou Sekou Kouyate it's the best kora player ever hear... if the kora have an original sound the sound it's born from Batorou soul (Good bless him in all his past lives and future ones)

Hear the Best AllahLake ever played at 'Mali: cordes anciennes' (Mali:ancient strings)

Guldhamstern said...

Wow, thank you!

May I request more kora to the people? Yes please!

mela.... said...

I have just found your post on this fabulous album : I'm still shocked it's wonderful!!!!

I love specially Djanjon

Thank you once again for sharing the beauty