February 22, 2013


Another (short) post in the series of countermeasures.

With this magnificent video by Fanta Damba No.2 (recorded by the RTM in 1983) one can't help but thinking: if this is number two, what is number one going to be like?
For this is a real masterpiece.
From the very first note Fanta Damba goes straight for the jugular. And although she is accompanied by only two musicians it feels like there is a huge ensemble at work. Those two musicians are of the top league of Malian accompagnateurs: on ngoni Moriba Koita* Moctar Koné (see comments - his identity has not yet been confirmed, but it seems very likely this is him) and on guitar the ubiquitous Bouba Sacko, who you may remember from the Ami Koita video I posted not too long ago.

Fanta Damba's vocal power and the ease of her singing in this song is certainly a highlight in Malian music. When I rediscovered it a few days ago, going through a pile of video cassettes, I watched the full twenty minutes with open mouth, tears streaming down my cheeks.

The song is "Duga" ("vulture"), one of the oldest songs in Malian musical tradition. And although the song is often linked to the epics surrounding Da Monzon Diarra and the Bambara empire of Ségou, there are apparently also people who claim it is a Malinke classic. I recommend reading these - varied - explanations about the lyrics and origin of this song, which can be found here.

A remarkable moment at the beginning is when Fanta is rearranging her foulard; it is the first time I have seen presenter Zoumana Yoro Traoré laugh....

*I was initially sure I heard Zoumana Yoro mentioning Moriba Koita in his introduction of this song. But if you compare this video with the one of Ami Koita, you will have to agree that this is not the same ngoni player. If you have any idea about the surname of this Moctar, please let us know.

EDIT February 28, 2013: Flemming Harrev has sent me a scan of the back of the sleeve of Fanta Damba's record SP 005 which has a photo of Moctar (or Mocktar or Mouctar) Koné:
It's him in the video, don't you agree?


Malian divas said...

i will ask a friend of mine if he knows this man.
in the beginning Zoumana show a picture with Moriba Koita, Fanta Damba & Bouba Sacko.

Malian divas said...

Many many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stefan

there was 1980 a Mocktar Kone playing on Celluloid CEL 6637 "Fanta Damba" with Bahamadou Simogo as first song from Fanta Damba 1, and 1983 a Mouctar Koné, on SP 1002, Fanta Damba No 1's "white album", whitch has also Batourou Sekou Kouyate on kora.

Unfortunatly there's no photo of the 2 Mocktar's at the cover of the two vinyls.... if you want, I can mail you a photo of the cover.


WrldServ said...

Yes, that certainly sounds a very good possibility. I have looked for any clues on those covers, but - like you - find zero.

Thanks for your help!

Jaime said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

mela.... said...

the wonderful voice of Fanta, the ngonifola and "master" Bouba
all superb!

thanks for so beautiful video

Jerome Couture said...

Great music ! I knew that Batourou Sekou Kouyate accompanied Fanta Bamba Bakoro (also known as No 1) kora on a few of her albums, but I did not realise that he also played with Fanta Bamba No 2, as in the video. Am I really getting confused ?

NGONI said...

Yes that is the man.
In the video with Fanta Damba singing Jajiri he is using that ngoni-ba, at the end of the song he has that same smile.
Long ago I was looking for his name, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Just discovered your great blog - thank you! Although I broke up from my Malian boyfriend more than 20 years ago, my love for Malian and West African music is still red hot :)
This piece of classical music is absolutely sublime.

NGONI said...

Hellow Mr.W
After searching and searching some other song from Fanta Demba Koroba, I've only got the songs from Bärenreiter-Musicaphon BM30L2501, any ideas?

WrldServ said...

@Ngoni: I think you are right, as far as 'official' releases are concerned. I think I have seen some less official releases around though.

NGONI said...

I was hoping to find some anthology or some folklore of Bamana or Segou, album with songs by an uncredited Fanta Damba No.1.