Sep 3, 2013

RhoDeo 1335 Roots

Hello, we still find ourselves in an environment that gave rise to the worlds monotheistic religions be it on the Arabian peninsula, here we stay in the Saharan/Sahel band stretching from the West-Atlantic coast to the highlands of Ethiopia in the east of the continent, a vast area where fresh water useally tends to come at a premium , where the sun is burning down during daytime and nighttime can be cold, where the moon is the sole light source apart from the warming campfires. Is it any surprise then that singing and making music together lifted the spirits of those gathering in these desolate landscapes. And the moon became their God.

Today more from Mali, it has one of the most intensely musical cultures in all Africa, no surprise then we'll remain there although today's artist was actually born in Senegal his music base has always been Mali, a solo singer, songwriter and guitarist, his band, Bamada, is a supergroup of West African musicians. He is known primarily for his unique approach to playing the guitar by tuning it on a pentatonic scale and playing on open strings as one would on a kamale n'goni. Other pieces of his music sound more like the blues or flamenco which are two styles he learned under Khalilou Traore. His vocal style is intimate and relaxed, emphasizing calm, moody singing rather than operatic technical prowess. Members of Bamada play talking drum, guitar, bass, drum set, harmonica, violin, calabash, and balafon. He composes and arranges all songs, singing in English, French, and Bambara. .......N'joy

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Habib Koité (born 1958 in Thiès, Senegal)  calls his music danssa-doso, danssa being a popular rhythm from the singer-songwriter’s childhood town of Kayes in Mali and doso designating hunters’ music, one of the oldest and strongest traditions in the region. According to the musician, the juxtaposition is intended to symbolise the music of all Mali’s ethnic groups: ‘In my country we have so many magnificent rhythms and melodies. Many villages and communities have their own kind of music but Malian musicians only play the music of their own ethnic group. But me, I travel everywhere across the Malian musical heritage and my goal is to give value to all these traditions by including them in my own music.’ Drawing on such disparate musical histories alongside subtle Western influences, Koité’s music frequently transcends cultural boundaries and can sound as close to the blues or flamenco as traditional Malian music.

Koité comes from a lineage of griots or revered African historians/musical entertainers. His mother was a griotte and sung at traditional Malian ceremonies while he apparently inherited his passion for music from his grandfather who played djely n’goni, a traditional four-stringed instrument associated with hunters in Mali’s Wassolou region. Koité had planned to study engineering but was diverted to enrol at the Mali’s National Institute of Arts (the INA) in Bamako where he studied from 1978-82. After graduating he was engaged by the Institute as a professor of guitar, a post he filled until 1998. During this time, Koité played with Malian artists such as Toumani Diabaté and Kélétigui Diabaté, a master of the balafon or West African wooden-keyed xylophone who was to later join his band.

In 1988, Koité formed a band Bamada, deriving the moniker from the nickname for residents of Bamako that translates as ‘in the crocodile’s mouth’. The reception given to the band’s first tour outside of Africa, in 1994, prompted the Brussels recording of a well-received debut, Muso Ko. Across a trio of albums - Muso Ko, Ma Ya and Baro - Koité has produced reflective, semi-acoustic, contemporary interpretations of multiple ethnic traditions from around his country. His distinctive guitar style, combining rock or classical techniques, with Malian tunings, produces endearing music that is neither heavily traditional nor emphatically Western.

Habib and Bamada were on stage at the African Roots and Shoots Festival at London's Barbican in 2000 and have also performed at many other international festivals. Later in 2000, Habib was part of the "Voices of Mali" tour in U.S. and Canada. In 2003 all this touring resulted in the release of the double album "Foly! Live Around the World" In 2004 and again in 2005, Habib and the Band toured to enthusiastic audiences. He played a single benefit performance in Providence, Rhode Island in December, 2005. In 2007 Bamada was touring internationally in support of their latest album, Afriki.

2011 saw the release of Acoustic Africa in Concert, a double album registration of what Habib loves best, playing for an audience. In 2012 he released something quite different from back in the Habib and Bamada days, Brothers in Bamako together with US blues man Eric Bibbs forging a bridge across the Atlantic. The blending of Eric Bibbs's American Blues and Habib's Malian sound resulted in a beautiful album.

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With cigarette smoking having gradually declined in the U.S., Africa is one of the places where tobacco companies have been aggressively promoting their cancer-causing product. So you can bet that the tobacco industry wasn't happy when, in 1991, Habib Koite's anti-smoking single "Cigarette A Bana" (which translates to "The Cigarette Is Finished" or "No More Cigarette") became an enormous hit not only in the singer/guitarist's native Mali, but all over West Africa. That smash, which made Koite a superstar in that part of the world.

As vast as Africa is, it stands to reason that the continent would offer a diversity of pop music. Reflective and folk-like, Habib Koite's Ma Ya is a far cry from African dance music. In 1998, the expressive Malian singer/guitarist enjoyed a lot of exposure in both Africa and Europe with Ma Ya, which didn't come out in the U.S. until early 1999. Backed by his band, Bamada, Koite is expressive and evocative on originals such as "Kumbin," "Wassive" and "Foro Bana." You might not understand the lyrics that Koite is singing, but it's obvious that he brings a lot of feeling and charisma to them.

Habib Koité & Bamada - Maya (flac  375mb)

01 Wassiyé 4:44
02 Ma Ya 5:30
03 Bitilè 5:56
04 Sirata 5:29
05 Foro Bana 5:14
06 Saramaya 5:06
07 Kumbin 4:38
08 Mara Kaso 5:06
09 Pula Ku 4:34
10 Komine 4:58
11 I Mada 5:44
12 Mansane Cisse 3:47

Habib Koité & Bamada - Maya  (ogg 156mb)

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It's hard to believe that Habib Koité & Bamada have only released three albums over the course of eight years together -- that's a remarkably small output for an African artist. But they've played a lot of gigs, and made themselves into one of the best units around, managing the excellent feat of sounding contemporary with (mostly) traditional instrumentation, and keeping a Malian feel throughout the music, from early polemic hit "Cigarette Abana" onward. It's a pan-Malian sound, not drawing from any single regional tradition, but perfectly at home using calabash, kamele n'goni, and balafon together. The effect is wonderful, especially as he's surrounded himself with crack musicians who love to improvise, and use each song as a springboard to simply play -- only two cuts on this double CD are under five minutes, and five stretch past the ten-minute mark without ever seeming too long. There's nothing new in the material here, but that's fine; these performances show what a craftsman Koité is as a writer. He's no slouch as a guitarist either (he taught the instrument for several years) as he shows several times during the discs. Fluid and imaginative, his very Malian style referencing a few Western ideas, but different enough to keep the ears pulled back. Everyone gets a good workout on the lengthy "Kunfeta," where the band is introduced, and abilities really come to the fore, before the quieter encore "Takamba." Recorded in various European countries during 2002, this confirms Koité as a major Afro-pop star, someone who can hold his own on-stage with anyone in the world, 2,5 hours of Malian musical bliss.

Habib Koite and Bamada - Foly! Live Around the World 1 (flac 484mb) 71:51

01 Muso Ko 10:58
02 Fatma 9:28
03 Ma Ya 10:06
04 Sirata 6:42
05 Batoumambe 4:15
06 Bitile 8:51
07 Imada 7:06
08 Kanawa 6:38
09 Wari 7:47

Habib Koite & Bamada - Foly! Live Around the World 1 (ogg 183mb)

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Habib Koite & Bamada - Foly! Live Around the World 2  (flac 522mb) 78:03

10 Nanale 8:18
11 Komine 10:06
12 Nimato 12:02
13 Saramaya 7:06
14 Sin Djen Djen 6:22
15 Wassiye 6:53
16 Cigarette Abana 6:20
17 Kunfeta 16:14
18 Takamba 4:42

Habib Koite & Bamada - Foly! Live Around the World 2 (ogg 202mb)

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In the six years since Mali's Habib Koite released his last new studio album, he developed a reputation in the West as one of his country's greatest cultural exports. On Afriki, Koite has fine-tuned his carefully manicured approach to melodic, acoustic-based songs of deep personal and global meaning. Always an engaging singer and songwriter, Koite's guitar is on equal footing here; his playing and the overall musicianship of his band, Bamada, outshines anything they offered in their previous outings. Koite exhibits a newfound sensitivity in his playing, always intricate, evocative, rhythmic and moving. Some of the instrumental work is reminiscent of the folk guitar styles of the '60s, but on tracks like the exquisite "N'Teri," a simple song of thanks, Koite brings in lush orchestration and background vocalists, as well as an array of native African instruments such as the balofon and n'goni. Other tracks, among them the album-opening "Namania" and "Africa" (with horns arranged by James Brown veteran Pee Wee Ellis), a song calling for African self-reliance, apply Koite's guitar, soulful voice and the gap-filling backup singers to a more polyrhythmic setting. "Fimani" reunites Mali with the blues it spawned, while the closing "Titati" is a solo showcase for Koite's lone (but never lonesome) guitar. The result is an uplifting, empowering world music that truly does bring together so much of the world, in such a warm and enchanting way.

Habib Koité and Bamada - Afriki   (flac  304mb)

01 Namania 4:11
02 N'tesse 4:31
03 Africa 4:51
04 Fimani 4:28
05 N'ba 4:40
06 Mali Ba 4:44
07 Barra 3:48
08 N'Teri 4:36
09 Nta Dima 3:05
10 Massakè 3:53
11 Titati 3:23

Habib Koité & Bamada - Afriki   (ogg 125mb)

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Anonymous said...

Thank you Rho for the excellent Malian music shares!
Only, Habib Koité & Bamada's Foly! Live Around the World CD 1 and Salif Keita's The Early Years have been deleted.
Perhaps you would be so kind as to re-up them?
Thanks once again!

Don Julian

Rho said...

Hello Anon, both have been re-upped now. N'Joy