November 24, 2012


A very short post.
I was really going to post something else.
But in bed with a nasty cold, sweating and feverish, I was haunted by this tune: "Mory", by Number One de Dakar.

The best cure for any disease: good music.

Eddy'Son 1156

November 09, 2012


Continuing my personal countermeasures against the against the lunatic proposal by those so-called islamic groups in northern Mali to ban music, I am bringing in the big guns. And when it comes to rock-hard Malian culture the guns don't get much bigger than Hawa Dramé.

You may remember my earlier post, plus the fantastic video featuring this great - but unfortunately also late - singer. If you have missed those, please do yourself a favour and at least watch those two videos.

The cassette I am sharing with you is one to digest slowly. Take your time. This is music which will last you a lifetime, and will be in your blood forever. As in the cassette I posted earlier, Hawa Dramé pulls out all the stops. The control she has over the 'accompagnement' is, again, brilliant. As is the control over her own vocal contribution. She can go full-out, but she can also subtly understate, - and in doing so move the coldest of those deepfrozen misguided souls in the north of her country .

There is not a weaker song in this collection.
You may recognise "So danso"; this was covered by Super Biton (see this post). "Demeba", with its majestically striding rhythm and Hawa's superb long phrasing. The meticulous "Diamandjo" where she is competing with the ngoni, twisting and turning. And "Mayebe Diyabo", just as intentional, with Hawa demonstrating the full dynamics of her unique voice.
Side B again has two longer songs. "Namabile" is one of those epic songs, which Hawa Dramé takes to another level. The same goes for "Niongomari" (covered by others, like Bazoumana Sissoko's daughter Tenignini Damba, as "Mariso"), although this unfortunately has a few wobbles.

SYL 8391

More countermeasures to follow...

*And in case you are wondering: this is a reference to the present date, plus a reference to what would be September 11 in countries like the USA. And in a way it is a reference to the excessive (verging in the ridiculous) coverage of first the impact of tropical storm Sandy on the eastern US (while the enormous damage of the hurricane Sandy on Cuba was covered in a single sentence!!) and then the painstakingly detailed and minute-to-minute coverage of the US presidential elections in this country (the Netherlands). Already Dutch media don't bother to convert 9-11 to the customary 11-9, so my guess is that in a few decades we will officially hand over sovereignty to 'our good friends on the other side of the Atlantic'.

November 01, 2012

Some updates

A few updates on earlier posts.

You may remember those great videos by that majestic Malian diva Kandia Kouyaté (here, here and here). When I met her in Bamako last year Lucy Duran pointed out to me that it was unlikely, if not completely incorrect, that Kandia was 18 when these videos were recorded. I told her I was inclined to agree with her but was hesitant to correct this, as the 'grand dame' herself was the source of this information. She had told me this when I interviewed her in 1990 (photo - by the great Ton Verhees - on the right). Lucy has since reminded me in an email. She wrote: "Mali TV opened in 1983 and Kandia was born in 1958. I first met her in 1986 which is around the time that she did songs like Moussolou. Bouba Sacko only joined her group in 1985, before that she had a 12 string guitarist from Kita called Kissima Diabate who was living in Abidjan, and with whom she recorded Amary Daou présente Kandia Kouyate. So Actually Kandia will have been around 27 or 28 when she filmed those clips. The presenter was Zoumana Yoro Traoré and the programme was probably 'Artiste et sa musique'."

Then some updates from Guinea.
Graeme Counsel (website!!) is in Conakry at the moment continuing his work digitising and preserving the archives of the RTG. He has tumbled upon the original reel containing the first track of side B of that superb album "Boum à Conakry". According to the notes and label of the album this is a track called "El Checheré" by the Orchestre de la Paillote. It turns out that this information is incorrect. In fact the song is by l'Orchestre Honoré Coppet, and was recorded either on February 2 or March 24, 1963 at the Bonne Auberge by a certain Katty using a Nagra III reel-to-reel recorder! And this "Katty", Graeme adds, is probably Emmanuel Kathy, a director of the Voix de la Révolution studios.
Honoré Coppet was born in Martinique and traveled to Senegal and Guinea in the late 1950s. He played alto saxophone in the Syli Orchestre Nationale.

And yesterday he reported that he has found a reel containing recordings by that amazing accordeon player Petit Moussa (you may remember the mind boggling cassette sleeve). Apparently the man is called Moussa Diawara. Graeme has added a photo of this amazing find. Let's hope (or if you like you may pray) that these recordings are as spectacular as the ones on the cassette!

That's all for now. More music to follow soon.