TP AFRICA, WORK IN PROGRESS
This story starts in Russi, a few kilometres from Ravenna, where T.P. Africa Ensemble has reunited for the second time, thanks to the effort of many people about which you a can read elsewhere. The warmth and the participation of the audience from Romagna, who attended as if it was for a public festivity, has welcomed with enthusiasm and unforeseen curiosity the jungle of ferocious rhythms produced by the koras of Madya Diebate, Omar Suso and by Naby Camara's balafon.
All the artists are sensitive to the way the audience participate, but Africans are maybe more perceptive, for this reason they were excited, having fun and encouraged in giving more.
Once the wind stopped blowing, in the garden in front of the S. Giacomo edifice the ancient secular tradition of the mandengue; made up of music, poetry and ancient stories, like the ones of the two great emperors Sounjata Keita and Samory Toure, came into life.
Thanks to the friends in Russi, in Alfonsine and in Ravenna once back into our slightly apathetic capital city, we are left with a strong desire to build other things together with them.
The T.P. Africa Ensemble wants to be the beginning of a bigger project. It was supposed to be called Orchestra, but it is too soon and Africa teaches us to learn to wait. Together with the two koras and the balafon we would need at least a couple of percussionists, a bass, a guitar and a flute, and then it will be ready to accompany big voices of the Mandengue Africa, like Kasse Mady or Sekouba Bambino.
In TP Africa boiler there is much more. The tide is rising, we were saying some months ago. Some are surprises we can not yet talk about, others are already reality.
With time passing by Madya Diebate's art grows and is becoming richer and richer. One year has passed from the project of the album Camas-Roma, where Madya's kora played together with Franco Di Luca's piano. Madya's new incursion into jazz territories is called Mansane Cisse a suit within which Angelo Olivieri on trumpet, Francesco Lo Cascio on vibraphone, Stefano Cesare on bass and Marco Ariano on drums, work together. The group's name is Sagen which is germane means "narrate".
Mansane Cisse is the story of a fisherman named Bakari. His young wife runs always for money with a rich merchant while her husband is on the river. Bakari decides to contact a marabout and thanks to his powers and witchcrafts, patron Cisse dies the same night in which he consumes the first passion night together with his you lady, who will also die later. The nobles in the village ask Bakari to accompany them on the other bank of the river where the tragedy had just taken place. In the middle of the river Bakari stops his pinasse and asks the griot who was there for the nobles, to sing a song about his story. This song was in fact Mansane Cisse the story of a rich and powerful man who was living in the illusion of being able to obtain whatever he wanted thanks to his richness and about a poor fisherman who is redeemed and enters the collective conscience of the people.
Sagen's concert is an unexpected experience. The many experiments of fusion between jazz and traditional African music have not always produced good fruits. Sometimes the distance has not been filled and the two worlds have not been able to fuse nor meet. Other times it has happened that one of the two worlds has shrunk back and twisted or that one has taken over the other as in an unconscious act of prepotence. In Mansane Cisse this has not happened, thanks to the sensitiveness of the five musicians who on one side dare and on the other side marvellously respect each other. Listen to believe and to understand Sangen can reach afar.
In the meantime many things are happening. The first albums from Wallai Records, field recorded in Mali are about to be released. The next TP Arica trip - with new stories, recordings and new friends - is already booked for December and this time it will be Gambia and Casamance.
The you tube channel is becoming richer with many unpublished videos like the live recording of the concert for Ali Farka Toure's anniversary of his death one year later held in Niafunke. In the coming weeks a series of articles describing the djeli and the Malinke epics will be published, narrated in words and music. The first story will be Keme Bourama about Samory Toure, the last Malinke emperor that during the second half of the nineteenth century leaving from Wassoulou, reunited many Malian and Guinean kingdoms to fight back the close in of the French invaders.
But there is more. We know already that the African communities in Italy are living an intense social life although isolated from the Italian society. We are specifically talking about Nigerians, Senegalese, Congolese, and Cape Verdeans, Ethiopians, Somali's and Eritreans. Just like in Africa, also in our country these guests get married, they give birth to children and die and those occasions - for some of them also during funerals - are celebrated through music. African communities organize concerts for artists - also incredible stars - whom they are represented by, making them come from their countries of origin. From all this music and culture Italians are excluded but TP Africa wants to shed some light. So one by one we are finding bands of Highlife, rumba and many musical genres that Africans listen to and dance during their parties and we hope that soon we will be able to propose them to whoever is interested.
The ideas to develop are numerous, from the explorations of African communities in the European capitals to the palm-wine bar and we sincerely hope that we will be able to surprise you and capture you. The principle of all is the curiosity and love for music for the culture and for the people who still surprise us, who still make us laugh but also who still have much to teach about respect, fraternity and the joy of living.
And there is also another feeling that can not be suppressed that allows us to read our European History like a story of abuses towards other people of the world, abuses that continue, that are unbearable and that impose us to do something, just like Bakari did in front of Mansanse Cisse, he decided not to give up. We feel invaded because we are conscious that our armies, made up of soldiers, missionaries and business men have arrived ages ago on the African coasts not because in desperate need but because they were thirsty of dominium. That was the real invasion.
We are on Bakari's side and we don't want to give up. For this reason we will continue to talk about Africa mainly through music and by all the possible means. Continue to follow us and do support us if you want. TP Africa is an open courtyard.