December 12, 2010


"Of average height, very mischievous looking, having just passed the age of 30, 'nonchalant' Coulibaly Notin at first contact appears to be very shy. Still she carries with her that irreplacable treasure that is her voice. She does not use this carelessly. She has yet to reach the level of her famous predecessor from Tala, the incomparable Diomande Zan-Ouama, but already her aura and her popularity are great.
Her alternately sensual and soft voice allows her to deal with problems of the heart as well as those concerning the different aspects of social life in Malinke country. Drawing a large audience wherever she goes, Coulibaly Notin, as a result of a logic which is characteristic of all truely capable artists, is present at all the various large events throughout the region.
The young housewife from Benjoro, born in south Sagbara, attracted the attention of the experts by the songs she sang for those working the land.
Her mastery of the various rhythms, her creative ease and her innate talent for improvisation which is inherent in any genius, have made her today into the unrivalled star of Worodougou.
Modest as she is, Coulibaly Notin has not moved, despite her popularity, and it is with great joy that she will receive her guests at Seguela for the 18th anniversary of the independance of our country.

The world is both large and complex. Some have been fortunate to have been born under a lucky star. But the artist Coulibaly Notin declares her attachement to her peasant roots. "I live from what the earth produces and I am proud of this" she states.
Glory is something to which one has to know how to adjust. Triumphalism certainly is not a good thing. That's why we day and night admire our wise and splendid president Félix Houphouet-Boigny.
Criticism is easy and art difficult. Slander, scandalmongering often feed their creators but certainly does not kill those who are the victims of it. So the best way for us to live in a world like ours should be to get down to work and to unite.
The philosopher talks to us about fate, determinism, contingence, etc. Coulibaly Notin talks to us about the "little thing", the insignificant thing can be fate. That particular thing is not available to everyone. Here one could have said in a word success. To a woman, having a good husband should not lead to any kind of boasting. To a father, a gifted child should also not bring to start boasting for no one is master of his own destiny. Fate often is able to make things go right.

A tribute to the women's society of Sequela, called Sié-Séhi, and to its leaders. Special mention of the president Soumahoho Nomonde whose dedication, readiness and sharp sense of responsibility bring honour to the entire womanhood of Sequela.
A song inspired by daily life on the fields of the artist which at the same time evokes the well-known theme of wealth and poverty. Can the rich and the poor each take satisfaction from their condition and live in harmony?
As if to continue the previous theme Coulibaly Notin invites us to content ourselves with our fortune and not be jealous. With people of the calibre of president Félix Houphouet-Boigny and his team guiding us we can consider ourselves to be fortunate, for we are in good hands.
The Star is the symbol of radiance, of clarity, of pureness and even of splendour. When your star is shining, Coulibaly Notin tells us, you have to make the most of it, for the past does not come by again."

Is it me or are there a lot of contradictions in these sleeve notes? Right from the first sentence there are mixed messages. She is roguish and 'cool' but shy at the same time. And is combining a rejection of triumphalism and praise of a dinosaur like Houphouet-Boigny a form of cynicism? And does Notin with her humble background seriously think that the poor should come to terms with their poverty? And how does this compare to the last song in which she urges us to make the most of any given opportunity?

There is no ambivalence when it comes to her talent though. Her remarkable stiletto voice reflects strong beliefs and deep roots into one of the many many so far unexploited cultural sources within west-african music.

Sonafric SAF 61.010

PS: Does anyone have volume 1?


Anonymous said...

Hi Stefan

thanks for that one!

It's just me, or do you here a resemblance or affinity towards music from the Mossi from the neighbouring state Burkina Faso, as well?


jo_schroedter said...

I'm following your blog since more than 18 month and have to say Thank You, for all the knowledge I've got and so much nice music.
I was searching for this record on Sonafric, too, and have found that the Nr 1 is just offered by groovecollector: