Oct 22, 2013

RhoDeo 1342 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 usually 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 as well, a bad omen in superstitious 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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The Lost Album resurrects six lengthy and largely acoustic tracks recorded in 1980 by West African singer Salif Keita and his longtime collaborator, guitarist Kante Manfila. Musical partners since the late '60s, first in the Rail Band and then in Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux, Keita and Manfila seem to be moving away from that group's somewhat westernized Afro-pop sound with these sessions. This is not to say that these are all traditional African musical forms: although the hypnotic "Toura Makan" sounds like it could have fit on one of the Nonesuch Explorers collections, Manfila's opening showcase "I Djo Fama" begins with a double-tracked acoustic guitar figure that's been processed to sound like Mike Oldfield's trademark half-speed guitar experiments. The arrangements are stripped down and the production medium-fi at best; some percussion, kalimba, a bit of trumpet, and a female vocal chorus make occasional appearances (frustratingly, there are no personnel or recording credits), but throughout, the focus remains on Keita's spellbinding vocals. Free of the synthesized gloss of his breakthrough solo albums from later in the decade, The Lost Album features a young Keita in a slightly rougher but warmly intimate musical setting.

Salif Keita and Kante Manfila - The Lost Album (flac  301mb)

01 I Djo Famâ 9:56
02 Finzamba 3:05
03 Toura Makan 12:37
04 Djigui 8:04
05 Nakana 11:01
06 Wara 8:41

Salif Keita & Kante Manfila - The Lost Album (ogg 103mb)

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Sometimes a return to basics can be the best way for an artist to move forward. For Salif Keita, that's definitely the case with Moffou. In spite of using a hefty number of musicians (17, plus six backing vocalists), the sound is very stripped-down. Even the supple electric guitar work of Djeli Moussa Kouyaté is mellow and low-key. The real beauty here is Keita's voice, carefully framed and used to maximum effect. High, almost piercing, it's a gorgeous instrument that can ride and transform a melody, whether the lulling gentleness of "Yamore" or the more upbeat -- but never frenzied -- "Iniagige." Overall, it's a record of swaying, seductive gentleness, one perfectly suited to Keita's style. After a few artistic missteps, he needs an album like this to reaffirm who he is and give a renewal to his sound. While it's strongly rooted, it's by no means strictly a Malian roots album; that's never been all of his music by any means. While ineffably West African, there's a lovely light sheen to the production that could only be European, and serves the sound well, smoothing it out but never losing the intimate flavor that's at the album's heart. Moffou reaffirms Keita's star status, and his reputation as one of the world's most glorious voices.

Salif Keita - Moffou (flac 386mb)

01 Yamore 7:23
02 Iniagige 4:33
03 Madan 6:00
04 Katolon 6:58
05 Souvent 3:17
06 Moussolou 4:59
07 Baba 4:44
08 Ana Na Ming 6:13
09 Koukou 6:02
10 Here 9:07

Salif Keita - Moffou (ogg 151mb)

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The Grammy nominated West African artist, Salif Keita, whose voice The Washington Post once declared as "one other mortals can only aspire to" returned after many years to Bamako, Mali to record M'Bemba, a remarkable, multifaceted collection which beautifully blends native choirs (comprised of his foster sisters), rolling hypnotic guitars, happily dancing percussion, and such indigenous instruments as ngoni lute and kora. These evoke the memory of Keita's ancestor, Sundiata Keita, the warrior king who founded the Mandingo Empire in the 13th century. Over the course of an hour, Keita -- whose globally successful 35-year career has somewhat offset the hardships he's faced in his homeland being an albino and a musician -- weaves a true tapestry of all of his favorite global influences. These include rock, soul, French chanson, and Afro-Cuban rhythms, all stirred up around his deep, guttural vocals, echoing chants, the seductive, jangling guitars, and a variety of earthy grooves. On the gentler reflections, like the opening track "Bobo," and the sweet, anthemic title track (enhanced by the female chorus), there's a hauntingly beautiful sense of history mixed with struggle and, ultimately, optimism. While the album will mostly be enjoyed by fans of real-deal African music, newcomers will hopefully be inspired to begin mining Keita's rich history as both a musician and a survivor.

Salif Keita - M'Bemba   (flac  410mb)

01 Bobo 5:58
02 Laban 7:28
03 Calculer 4:18
04 Dery 5:18
05 Ladji 5:06
06 Kamoukié 5:03
07 Yambo 6:13
08 Tu Vas Me Manquer 5:49
09 M'Bemba 8:50
10 Moriba 6:29
11 Calculer 3:43

Salif Keita - M'Bemba   (ogg 154mb)

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Palix said...

excellent blog!
fan of malian music, i could find some unknown (for me) recordings.


Anonymous said...

Hello Rho!

One more request from me. This time I'd love for you to reupload Salif Keita's "Moffou" album.

Thank you and have a great day!


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Guitarradeplastico,scraping oddities said...

please re-up

Guitarradeplastico,scraping oddities said...

many thanks

Anonymous said...

Can you please re-up Moffou.