July 04, 2012


Off-topic: I am getting a bit annoyed with the - unfortunately numerous - pathetic attempts to 'slip in' commercial or otherwise completely irritating links into comments. I do not want to introduce a form of moderation, but I am also not going to accept any links not related to either the posts or the comments. So please try and control these urges....
And while I am on the subject of irritating mails: it is absolutely useless and a waste of time to ask me if I am interested in 'partnerships' or other commercial 'liaisons'. So do yourself (and me) a favour....

On-topic: You may remember my earlier post dedicate to the legendary Siramori Diabaté. In this post I would like to share with you some recordings made by her eldest daughter, Sanoudie (or Sanungwe or Sanougue) Kouyaté.

Perhaps you know her 1990 "Balendala Djibe" album (cassette/lp/CD) which was produced by Salif Keita and recorded in Paris. As far as I know she has not brought out another record since, although I think I saw the title song of the Paris recording on one of the many CD compilation of Malian divas.
I am not sure about her present role in Malian music, but I gather from a book entitled "Relaties smeden: de rol van een jelimuso (griotte) in Mali" (i.e. "Forging relationships: the role of a jelimuso [female griot] in Mali") written by Dutch antropologist Nienke Muurling (and released in 2003), in which the writer submerges into the jeli scene of Bamako & Paris, that Sanoudie was very much active in the lucrative sumu (soirées, weddings, baptisms and such) scene at the turn of the century.

Apparently (I read in this same book) she wasn't able to follow in the footsteps of her mother until in the second part of the 1980s, not because of lack of talent or of 'griot training' (the practical side of tradition), but because of her marriage to a Diawara. Her husband's family did not allow her to get mixed up in 'jeli doings'.... It wasn't until she divorced Diawara and married Madusilla Kouyaté that she was able to start a career as a djeli mousso (jelimuso).

Personally I am not a great fan of "Balendala Djibe". Like many of Salif Keita's albums it is too overproduced for my liking and - as a result - the music loses a lot of its power. Although Sanoudie manages - and with some ease - to overcome the treaclelike production, she has had to make some adjustments to do so. Especially the more subtle nuances of her voice are lost.

These subtleties are very audible in this cassette, which is not dated but which I assume was recorded in the late 1980s. On this cassette she is very much her mother's daughter, and not just by the choice of songs. For all the songs are from Siramori Diabaté's repertoire, which is the repertoire of the griots of Kangaba/Kela (I gladly refer you to Jan Jansen's great CD's on the PAN label, no. 2015, 2059 and 2104). The accompaniment is simple and inobtrusive, especially on side B, where it consists of just a guitar (her husband Madusilla?).

On side A there are brilliant renditions of Malinké classics like "Sadiona Magni" and "Yasoumouka" (which you perhaps know from the version by Les Ambassadeurs du Motel), but as great as these are, the killer tracks are, in my opinion, on the B-side. "Bani" (elsewhere interpreted under the title of "Baninde" - see this post and - of course - this one) is one of the best versions I have heard. And that classic of classics "Wara" is sung in a disturblingly casual but brilliant manner, - and hits me right between the eyes.

Syllart SYL 83107

There are several videos on YouTube by Sanoudie (don't look for Sanoudie, but try Sanungwe instead). My favourite of these is the one Ngoni posted on his great channel. It is roughly from the same period as the recordings on the cassette, and (also??) features her husband on guitar.


LolaRadio said...

Hola Amigo-
Fijne bijdrage weer. Beaucoup merci daarvoor. Dat filmpje over het Malinese leger doet mij me afvragen of de familie K. daar en de rest van het land veel last heeft van de noordelijke opstand. En is Timboektoe echt verloren? Ik lees er hier geen fuk over. Groet aan familie uut Fryslan

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Stefan


merci beaucoup for this one, it's very interesting to listen the music of Sanoudie/Sanouge in context with the mother's, aka Siramory's music, but also with Siramory's other daugther, Bintan's, which features on two of Jan Jansen's, CDs, that you mention.


NGONI said...

I found this comment, I suppose that he speaks about Madusilla Kouyaté?


Elle ira
a Bamako joindre l'un des plus populaires groupes APOLLOS des Annees '70
dirige, a l'epoque, par son oncle Mady Sylla Kouyate.

WrldServ said...

@Ngoni: Are you referring to Kandia Kouyaté, who is know as the voice of Kita?

It is very possible that the name is misspelled. The author probably asked someone to write the name down, - with this result...

WrldServ said...

eh... known

(they should allow an edit on these comments....).

NGONI said...

Sorry I forgot to subscribe, but I think you've answered your own.

urijenny said...


Una pregunta.

Desde que escuché por primera vez a Sanougue Kouyaté, su voz me recordaba la de Sadio Kouyaté.

Sabés si tienen algún parentesco?

Muchas gracias por el cassette y cordial saludo.

NGONI said...

@ urijenny
Te respondo yo porque creo que entiendo a lo que te refieres.

Sanungwe proviene de Kela y Sadio proviene de Segou, no creo que tengan ningún parentesco excepto pertenecer a la familia Kouyaté.

Hay siempre (o casi) algo que está presente cuando escuchamos a una cantante Kouyaté, la voz es un poquito ronca, es como un poquito rota, esa pequeña inperfección, que para mi las añade un encanto extra.

Ese es el encanto de la voz de las Djelimousso Kouyaté.

urijenny said...

Muchas gracias amigo. En verdad me has aclarado la consulta que hacía.

Cordial saludo.