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'.


David said...

... I'd always charitably assumed 9-11 was a concession to the poor Americans, since it was their catastrophe - a bit like if they allowed the Melkweg or the Concertgebouw to remain in Dutch... :-)

But I like the idea of using the REAL 9-11 for something useful - a pro-freedom message rather than anti-anything. YOu may be onto something here! Well, it's got my vote.

And Hawa Drame is a real treat; I loved the earlier material so am looking forward to this!


Anonymous said...

Very beatifull and strong, this tape from Hawa Dramé, as well. Yes, a certain class!

Stefan, do you know the n'goni-player's name?

Initially, I thought it might be Mocktar Koné, who had performed with Fanta Damba, too ...

I'm a bit intrigued by the two labels, Bamana and Serakolé:
while I understand that the border between them is not alwith very sharp, (especially at Niono!) I often struggle to identify them.

IMHO the Ngoni has a Serakolé touch.


dial africa said...

Thank you for this statement.

Anonymous said...

A. again

after seeing the podcast:
No 10, Fissa Maiga sings Tamala, which is played by Ali Farka Touré and at the Songhoy's album of the "Premiére Anthologie.." and other as well.

Merci bcp four la collection, c' est qui dans la photo, au sokou (godgé)

WrldServ said...

@Anonymous a.k.a. 'A.': The player of the 'imzad' is called Armatou Traoré (and is from the Tombouctou region).

I have no idea who the ngoni player is with Hawa Dramé, but the bambara-sarakolé issue will be the subject of a future post (featuring more HD).

mela.... said...

I really like Hawa
Unrepeatable Hawa
Unforgettable Hawa

Why their cassettes have not been reissued?
why not a tribute as she deserves?

Only worldservice!

Stefan, many thanks for this wonderful cassette and for sharing the beauty.

Barika da

grossir said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark said...

This is exceptional. One small question - I'm confused by the cassette sleeve, which lists songs entirely different than what is in the file. Side B (Piste B) on the artwork has the same tracks as on the SYL 8384 posting you put up, which adds to the confusion.

WrldServ said...

@Mark: You are very perceptive. I have no idea why Sylla made such a mess of those titles.
I have purposely avoided the subject as I did not want to go into a rant about the lack of respect for this monument of Malian culture demonstrated by these (imo) crucial details.....

Anonymous said...

9-11 was something the Amerikkkans have been asking for for a very, very long time. They have been mass murdering people, enslaving people, occupying people and buying dictators for e very long time. Observe the catastrophes they've dished out.

It makes me sad to see other countries losing their culture to US-style crap...stop it before it's too late.

As far as politics in Mali, that's for them to figure out; none of our business, really.

David said...

Great tape - thank you. And great to hear, too, pieces with electronic instruments & trad instruments side by side, and be able to compare how she approaches the different sound.

Thanks !!!!

ngoni said...

Dear Stefan, you can not imagine how many times I have wanted you to fulfill your promise,
"I have no idea who the ngoni player is with Hawa Dramé, but the bambara-sarakolé issue will be the subject of a future post (featuring more HD)."

I'm always waiting ...

WrldServ said...

@Ngoni, hahaha. Time is running too fast for me right now. Be patient, my friend. Many more marvels will come, as soon as I have more time.
I loved your Leba Sidiki videos (which I discovered only recently), by the way.

ngoni said...

@WrldServ, This come...
Because today I discovered a video with a Soninké Griot accompanied by Bamana artists, some known, as Alou Fané and Mamaye Kouyaté, they took me to your territory.
Take care very much, as we are alive, we can wait. (:

ngoni said...

It seems that the channel that Camara Prod., was eliminated is going to allow us to get some interesting recordings, on the new channel, even with better quality than usual, for example these two recordings by Hawa Dramé, which are breathtaking.