Oct 15, 2013

RhoDeo 1341 Roots

Hello, we still find ourselves in an environment that gave rise to the worlds monotheistic religions be that 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, after all it has one of the most intensely musical cultures in all Africa. Today's artist sort of announced himself the previous weeks, he is unique not only because of his reputation as the "Golden Voice of Africa" but because he has albinism aswell, a bad omen in supersticious Africa. But then he was of royal heritage alas this meant that under the Malian caste system, he should never have become a singer, which was deemed to be a griot’s role. In short a most unlikely career was what followed here. ......N'joy

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Salif Keita gave up a lot to pursue his dreams of a career in music. Keita was born in the village of Djoliba. He was cast out by his family and ostracized by the community because of his albinism, a sign of bad luck in Mandinka culture (and the rest of Africa). Born (August 25, 1949) to royal lineage, with ancestral roots going back to Soundjata Keita, the founder of the Malian Empire in 1240, Keita was disowned by his father after announcing his plans to play music. Keita's dreams, however, were too strong to be shattered.

Moving to the capitol city of Bamako in 1967, he was soon playing in nightclubs with one of his brothers. Within two years, he was invited to join the Rail Band. A popular, government-sponsored group that played regularly at the Buffet Hotel de la Gare, the Rail Band featured influential Malian guitar player Kante Manfila. Keita's soulful singing soon brought the band to a much higher plateau. In 1973 Keita joined the group, Les Ambassadeurs. Keita and Les Ambassadeurs fled political unrest in Mali during the mid-1970s for Abidjan, Ivory Coast and subsequently changed the group's name to "Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux".

In 1977, Keita received the prestigious National Order of Guinea from President Ahmed Sekou Toure. Encouraged to pursue a solo career, Keita moved to Paris in 1984. Settling in the city's Montreuil section, he found a thriving community of more than 15,000 transplanted Malians. Predictions of success proved true with the release of Keita's debut solo album, Soro, in 1987. Produced by Ibrahim Sylla, the album combined African, jazz, funk, Europop, and R&B influences.

Musical instruments that are commonly featured in Keita's work include balafons, djembes, guitars, koras, organs, saxophones, and synthesizers. In 1990, Keita contributed "Begin the Beguine" to the Cole Porter tribute/AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Blue, produced by the Red Hot Organization. Keita found success in Europe as one of the African stars of world music, but his work was sometimes criticised for the gloss of its production.

Keita continued his recording career with several releases for Mango throughout the '90s, including the Mansa of Mali anthology, before moving to Blue Note for Papa in 1999. Shortly after the turn of the Millennium he returned to Bamako in Mali to live and record. His first work after going home, 2002's Moffou was hailed as his best album in many years nd he received a Grammy nomination for the album. Keita was inspired to build a recording studio in Bamako, which he used for his album M'Bemba, released in October 2005.

Keita's album, La Différence, was produced around the end of 2009. The work is dedicated to the struggle of the world albino community (victims of human sacrifice), for which Keita has been crusading all his life. La Différence is unique in that for the first time Keita has clearly and boldly combined different melodic influences to produce a highly original musical feel. The album was recorded between Bamako, Beirut, Paris, and Los Angeles. The album won Keita one of the biggest musical awards of his career: the Best World Music 2010 at the Victoires de la musique.

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So Les Ambassadeurs were sophisticated and 'hip',  leader of the hip team was Guinean guitarist Manfila Kanté, who had joined the orchestra a year before Salif, coming from Ivory Coast. He succeeded Malian sax player Moussa 'Vieux' Sissoko as chef d'orchestre. Among the other team members were Tagus Traoré (trumpet) from Guinea and singer Ousmane Dia, a Senegalese who had played with the legendary Star Band. But the majority came from Mali, with organist Idrissa Sumaoro (who will the subject of a future post), rhythm guitarist Amadou Bagayoko (of Amadou & Mariam fame), multi-instrumentalist (flute, balafon, violin) Keletigui Diabaté and singer Beidy Sacko.

Salif and Manfila (died juli 2011 age 65) formed a unique artistic alliance, together they forged a directory bold and innovative Mandingo combining tradition and modernity. In 1978, Les Ambassadeurs, left to try their luck in Abidjan and renamed International Ambassadors record an album in a few hours will find a snapshot across West Africa and beyond success "Mandjou" ... Crowned this success, Les Ambassadeurs recorded in 1980 the album Seydou Bathily . Then the following year out Tounkan and Mana Mani , two albums from sessions conducted in Washington, USA that will become references of the new African generation. .

Keita & Les Ambassadeurs - Seydou Bathili (flac  264mb)

01 Seydou Bathily 9:18
02 Saly 7:38
03 Kandja 5:44
04 N toman 8:19
05 Namory 9:54
05 Super-Coulou 8:34

Keita & Les Ambassadeurs - Seydou Bathili (ogg 104mb)

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Salif Keita's success story reads like an improbable historical novel. Born in Mali and descended from a famous warrior king of the Manding Empire, Keita is an albino, which is still considered bad luck in many parts of Africa. He was ostracized from birth, and his childhood was marred by his father's oft-expressed revulsion. Although it was considered shameful for people of his caste to become entertainers, he must have felt that he didn't have much lose, so he migrated to the capitol city of Bamako bent on a career as a singer. After epochal stints fronting bands like Rail Band and les Ambassadeurs, he moved to Paris during the mid-'80s. His reputation had proceeded him, and he quickly became a fixture on the flourishing African music circuit. Although he was famous in Africa and had achieved a strong fan base among connoisseurs around the world, Soro was his international breakthrough album. The project was produced by Ibrahima Sylla, a visionary who had already discovered dozens of African stars and would later become the driving force behind Africando. The arrangements featured the roiling rhythms, slightly nasal female backup choirs, and traditional percussion typical of Malian music. But these were nearly overwhelmed by attack-trained brass charts, rocked-out electric guitars, overtly synthetic keyboards, and programmed drums. In retrospect, only a voice as powerful as Keita's could have not only managed to cut through the din but make an ally of it. Despite a tendency to sound somewhat dated, Soro preserves the Golden Voice of Mali at an absolute peak of perfection,

Salif Keita - Soro (flac 229mb)

01 Wamba 4:45
02 Soro (Afriki) 9:52
03 Souareba 4:39
04 Sina (Soumbouya) 4:45
05 Cono 6:00
06 Sanni Kegniba 7:44

Salif Keita - Soro (ogg 90mb)

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An early-'90s album from the great Salif Keita. This one pulls out all the stops to appeal to a Western audience at some level. Keita's vocals are, as always, outstanding. On top of this, though, a slew of performers make appearances and/or help out on production. Former bandmate Kante Manfila provides the primary guitar work for the album and master keyboardist Joe Zawinul both plays keyboards throughout and provides the production work. Also, balafon master Keletegui Diabate provides some outstanding work where needed. To top this, both Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter make appearances on their respective instruments within the structure of the album. As would be expected, then, the album sounds wonderful. Zawinul's production shies away from being overly glossy, but has enough doctoring to blend the sounds together in just the right way. As far as Keita albums are concerned, this is one of the best, and as far as Afro-pop is concerned, this is also one of the best. Anyone looking to break into Afro-pop should pick this album up, as it combines the work of a true vocal master with the work of a number of musicians (Western and African) of the highest caliber to create a seamless work on the whole.

Salif Keita - Amen   (flac  299mb)

01 Yele N Na 4:13
02 Waraya 6:07
03 Tono 5:30
04 Kuma 5:00
05 Nyanafin 5:40
06 Karifa 4:08
07 N B'I Fe 5:09
08 Lony 7:56

Salif Keita - Amen   (ogg 110mb)

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