April 11, 2009


I don't have the sleeve of this cassette, and there is reason for this.
I first heard this cassette by the great singer Molobali Keita (of whom I posted his fourth volume earlier) in Mali in 2000. I already had a few of his later cassettes and, although I had to get used to the drum kit which he had introduced to complement the traditional instruments, these had slowly but surely grown on me.
But that sweaty night in Bamako, listening to his second volume I heard for the first time the Molobali I subconsciously always had known existed. It was one of those rare moments that people, place, ambiance and music synchronised.

It took some effort to get a copy of this cassette, but I think you'll agree it was worth it. Technically it certainly isn't Molobali's best recording, but the vibes on this cassette are incredible. I advise you to play it late at night, outside - if you can - or when the house is empty.

All the tracks are traditionals from the Sikasso (or Kénédougou) region, and more particular from the region around the town of Sikasso, which is the source of an incredibly rich balafon tradition.

Super Sound SS 42

To give you an idea of what this music looks like, here is a video from Malian television. I assume it is from approximately the same time as the cassette. The line-up is at least very similar. The round gourd drum is a type of 'bara' (which comes in different sizes). The title on this video is "Shinyana foli", but on Volume 3 the same track is called "Signana Tolo" (and I suspect the latter is the correct title).

PS: There is another (and much better quality - especially in HQ) video featuring Molobali & Mama Keita here (thanks Scott for reminding me).


icastico said...

I like the sound of the bara.
I used to have a nice one.
After hearing this, I think I'll need to see if I can replace it.

Momo said...

Thank you for this great post.

As far as i can say, "Shinyana" and "Signana" are same which mean : all night or spend all night doing something.
"Foli" mean play music and "tolo" i am not quite sure but it is related to music or do something that you enjoy!

Do you have the song or the album of "Signana Tolo"?

The drum is great.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much.

The ultimate success of Molobaly Keita - Tchimidjama (millet beer) recorded in 2006 continued on 2009at the top positions in the hit parade of Mali "Top 5".

We can see live here.

WrldServ said...

"Tchimidjama" is on Volume 9, and "Signana Tolo" on Volume 3. I will post these (and volumes 5, 6, 7 and 8, and -if you like- 'The Best of' cassette) later, but wanted to get this one 'off my chest' first...

Momo said...

that would be great.
Can you post the volume 3 the one with Signana Tolo before the best of or after it!

Anonymous said...

Ready for volume 9. Tchimidjama

Modibo said...

A small correction: Molobali Keita is from Koutiala, not Sikasso. He is Bobo rather than Minyanka (the main ethnic group in Koutiala).

I lived in Koutiala for three years, off and on, from 1994 - 2004, saw him in concert there, and interviewed him there for my doctoral dissertation. He was very involved with a couple of the radio stations in the city as well, which was one of the reasons I interviewed him (my dissertation was on local radio in the Koutiala area). This was just before Tchimidjama was released, and I can safely say that while he may drink millet beer, he also will not turn down a cold Flag or Castel!

David said...

I was led to this by your more recent Team GB post. I thought I'd start with no.2 & work up to no.5. But after hearing no.2 how can things get better?! I love this! Thank you.