September 09, 2010

Sali & Alou

Some of you may recall my earlier post about the cassette "Formidable" by the great Sali Sidibé. I mentioned the denial by Alou Fané of his participation to that album. I have to add that I had heard rumours - of the usual 'radio trottoir' kind - of an 'involvement' between the two. And to add to the mystery, my question provoked not only a forceful denial, but also an argument between Alou and his friend and musical partner Daouda 'Flani' Sangaré, followed by a meaningful smile from Flani to me. Meaningful in the sense that I gathered it was probably wise to avoid pressing the issue.

I am happy to say that part of the mystery has been solved, through the aid of Michael from Switzerland, who was able to provide us with a copy of the lp which he has allowed me to share with you in this post. Presumably the second lp to be released on the "Disco Club de la Bagoué" label (the first one, featuring Alou and Flani, I have posted earlier), this album produces proof that Alou Fané has indeed played with Sali Sidibé! In fact, he is named on the sleeve as one of the two musicians accompanying Sali, - the other being guitarist Madou Traoré.
Alou Fané in 1986 [photo: Isabelle Vigier]
The album was released in 1980, which in my experience doesn't necessarily mean that it was recorded the same year (especially as the recordings were made by Boubacar Traoré at Radio Mali...). It does mean, however, that it is probably Sali Sidibé's very first album.

Alou once told me that when he went to Bamako (coming from a little village called Koungoba in the Sikasso region) at the age of 26 there were only three known kamalen n'goni players (including himself, but excluding Flani - who also played the kamalen n'goni). While Alou had been inspired primarily by the donso n'goni playing of a friend of his father, which he subsequently converted into an original kamalen n'goni style by integrating other local (mainly balafon) styles and rhythms, Sali's musical background, Alou told me, was with the sogonigou (or sogonikou), which is primarily a dance, with drums and a female chorus and a female solo singer (both Coumba Sidibé and - later - Oumou Sangaré also sang with these dances, by the way). Sali ended up with the Ensemble Instrumental National, while Alou joined the Ballet National, both as a musician and a dancer.

The combining of these two talents has resulted in a spectacular album. From the first notes of Alou's n'goni it is just bursting with energy and sheer power. And not just because of Alou's fantastic n'goni playing, but also by Sali's assertive vocal.

In the second track "Barry", a sad tale about a youngster who leaves his country in search of riches but only finds death, Alou can be heard vocally (after 1'22). How cruel is fate, given that Alou left for Europe, only to return to his own country to face death.....

I can not find any weakness in this album (except perhaps that it is only 22 minutes long). So I have no hesitation in stating that this is the best I have ever heard of Sali Sidibé!

Disco Club de la Bagoué F.T. 002


øשlqæda said...

i love this place so much. thanks again & again

icastico said...

wow. Barry is an amazing cut.

Anonymous said...

It's such a special treat to hear all these ultra rare LPs & cassettes. Sali Sidibe is one of the artists I particularly look forward to. As always thank you


Anonymous said...

The Sogonikun is a festival to promote a good harvest, which is danced with animal masks and headdresses as the "Ci-wara".
I can not wait to hear it, thank you all.

Love Letters Journal said...

Absolutely spectacular - thanks for sharing all these priceless gems!