SALIF KEITA - ALI FARKA TOURE - TOUMANI DIABATE - BAKO DAGNON
LISTEN (Look at "Listen Tracks")
Three albums released almost at the same time, played by four artists who all together can represent most part of the immense universe of Malian music.
Salif Keita was the first to make Malian music known to that part of the world that is found outside Africa . La Difference , his last album, seems somehow undertone compared to the two previous works, Moffou and M’Bemba. Perhaps because it sounds like a reconciliation, like the internal peace of an artists. An artist whose existence has always been lived under the shadow of conflict. A singer who, as per tradition, could not have sung, a noble without wealth nor power, a black albino, emigrated towards us white people and amongst black people. But also an immense sweet and powerful voice, kind and unpredictable, dramatic and solar and the courage which allowed him to change constantly.
With la Difference, Salif Keita seems he does not feel obliged to affirm himself, and sings with sweetness and peacefulness in favour of African albinos, for whom the income of this album will be spent. Nine calm songs of which three are old songs rearranged – Seydou, Folon and Papa- where the voice of Salifou flies over an acoustic accompaniment, rich and bare, nocturnal and solar, made up of some guitar – amongst whom the usual marvellous Manfila Kante and Djeli Moussa Kouyate-, n’goni, percussions and bows. The jeliya seen from above, followed and conquered. Maybe it is not the best Salif Keita, but nobody can be similar to him not even vaguely.
Ali and Toumani is – this time maybe for real – the last album of the african blues king Ali Farka Tourè, accompanied by Toumani Diabate on kora. It is again music from the stars, like in the previous album coming from the heart of the moon. A magic encounter of artists without time who managed to take delicately their millenarian music and transport it in a global contemporary world. Their operation is proud and without compromises with the market logics, but nonetheless success has arrived, and together with it the Grammy for Talking Timbuktu and In the Heart of the Moon.
The songs of Ali and Toumani are not left overs from the recordings at hotel Mandè of 2005 but they represent a new project, recorded in London after the last tour which brought Ali also to Rome , just before his death. During the recordings he fell sick, and often would give up to pain, and stopped playing to rest a little. In the end Ali playing at the beginning, like in Sina Mory, an ancient Malinke song which Fodeba Keita, founder of the Guinean Ballets Africain, played during the fifties, which moved young Farka to embrace his first guitar. And close to it the Bambara music, of the Songhai, of the peul and of the bobo, a real Sahel mosaic drawn in the air by the six strings of the guitar and by the 21 strings of the kora.
About the greatness of Bako Dagnon's jaliya – – other extraordinary Malian singer whose discography debut happened after almost half a century of artistic activity – we have already talked about deeply in the occasion of the release of her Titati. Bako represents the essence of Malian jeliya, the last generation of jeli who don’t surrender to the seduction of success and fortune but dedicates proudly her knowledge and art to the survived ancient culture.
Sidiba follows naturally her first album and Bako is at perfect ease again, and she affords surprising breakaways from the classical harmonies. Accompanying her enormous like the sky voice, mysterious like the caves in the sacred mountain of Kita are the guitars of Mama Sissoko and some other, traditional percussionist and some minimal electronics, for eleven songs that fish inside the classical malinke and bambara repertoire songs without time, dressed up with new sounds and also new words.
It is spontaneous to ask oneself how is it possible that a single African country like Mali, made up of desert for two thirds and with a population slightly more numerous of that of Rome can be able to give birth to some many legends. Exactly, three albums, three stories of life.
1. San Ka Na (Salif)
2. Gaffou (Salif)
3. Warbé (Ali & Toumani)
4. Sina Mory (Ali & Toumani)
5. Sidiba (Bako)
6. Badjigui (Bako)
Author: Salif Keita
Album: La Difference
1. La Différence
2. San Ka Na
6. Ekolo D'Amour
Author: Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate
Album: Ali and Toumani
Label: World Circuit
2. Sabu Yerkoy
3. Be Mankan
6. Samba Geladio
7. Sina Mory
11. Kala Djula
Author: Bako Dagnon
1. Wouya Larana
4. Le Guide De La Révolution
8. Alpha Yaya
10. Fadeen Tô
11. Bè Bé Bori i No Fè
Stars of Mali
Jaliya in Casamance
24 May 2010
SALIF KEITA - ALI FARKA TOURE - TOUMANI DIABATE - BAKO DAGNON
11 May 2010
Translation from Mandinka by dt. ABDOULAYE DIARRA
“First of all thank you for having come here in Darisalam to Diebate Kunda. It is not easy to have friends like you and we thank God”."
Darisalam is a very small village of twenty families in the heart of inner Casamance, a few kilometres from Tanaf, rough small town of dust and huts. It develops on the road that from Ziguinchor reaches Kolda; it runs on the southern shore of the Casamance River . In Africa many towns are called Darisalam, for this reason Madya specifies that his village is Bolonbalola, which in mandinka means on the river side.
Diebate Kunda is the Diebate family residence, where we have been welcomed like brothers and sisters thanks to the relationship estabilished in Rome between Madya and Kristina and Alessandro. The head of the family is Malang Diebate, first son of Bully and Kady. Together with him live other five brothers “bakely fakely” meaning same father and same mother, and one of them is Madya. If we count their wives and children we reach more or less eighty people.
Bully Diebate and Kady
The Darisalam Bolonbalola Diebate’s inherit from many generation the knowledge of the kora and their love for the jaliya, for music and for ancient stories is incredibly intense and deep, to the point that all the boys in the family without exceptions play kora and are traditional jalis in their village and in the whole regions up to the coast.
The house of Madya’s family is the first destination of our trip where we all meant to establish a contact with the clean heart of the African people and with the hardness and the sweetness of their simple lives. Upon our arrival in the heart of the night we felt the hands of small children and big men, women that were holding our hands and also without seeing their faces we imagined their smiles and looks. There were also Sambou, Binta and Tullai and while they were hugging us from deep inside of us the commotion of the remembrance of the days spent in their court yard in Badialan 3 in Bamako. Moriba ... why are you not here with us?
“What has pushed you here is the love you have for the kora. The kora belongs to great people. We know your love has brought you to Mali and now you are here in Casamance to know our family. The kora once was a very important instrument within the lives of the people, but many do not know. Also our president Wade seems to forget this”.
The current president of Senegal , Abdoulaye Wade, is not very appreciated by the mandinka of Casamance. Thanks to the climate and the abundance of water their land is also called the granary of Senegal , where the majority of rise, mile, peanuts and local fruit. But the central government of Wade assigns the countries resources to the development of Dakar and of the north and the people in the south feel abandoned and taken advantage of. The roads are few and badly kept, the electricity is missing in most of the villages and the few state services, like schools and hospitals, are concentrated in Ziguinchor. For this reason Casamance is the scene of riots between government troops and the secessionist warriors. After independence the first president Senghor asked Casamance to be part of Senegal to contribute to the constructions of a new nation, which after would have agreed to their request for independence. But that promise was never kept.
“The kora talks to you immediately when you see her. The first word the kora says to you is Allah. It is a sacred instrument which is reserved to only kings and great personalities, also if today people don’t have a high consideration for it. The kora is made up by its parts called kularan, bateau, bolo koromo, koun (head). The strings of the kora are called timba and bakumba on top, at the centre temajulu and the small ones lenlè. The name of the kora comes from the fact that it reunites many people. Kabe kora means to reunite everyone.
The person who invented the kora originally comes from Soso, he was inspired by man. His family went to live in Buluofo. The kora is everything for us, it feeds us and dresses us. The kora translates the history of people and talks the language of that place. All my children learn the kora, also those who go to school. When they finish studying I insist they play kora, because it is our life”.
That morning in Diebate Kunda the butcher arrived early, called to kill the bull that we had given to thank the family for their hospitality. Its meat was enjoyed by the whole village. Killing an animal is always a meaningful event accompanied by some dose of rituality. So in Diebate Kunda men reunited under the shade of the big mango and have talked about the kora and about the djeli families of Casamance. Malang is he who speaks.
“All jali, Kouyate or Diabate or Sissoko or Kante or Kanoute they are all from the same mother and father, they all come from the same tree. The kora is what we have found to earn our living. Before my grandparents went to play kora for the kings and the nobles. They would stay many days in their houses and they would receive the necessary to survive. But today one needs money, for this reason jali ask for money to play.
Also in Senegal (meaning the north ndt) within the big Wolof orchestras are kora players who do it for money. Today they only play for money, but they have taught me that when a jeli plays he does not have to ask for money. If he is a good jeli and knows the story of his jatigi, when he sings he will receive what he deserves.
Also in Casamance there are mandinka who play kora without being jali. The real jali families in Casamance are Diabate and Gassama. We can say that one digs the whole for the other to plant the seed. Normally if there is no noble family in a village the Diabate are the chiefs and the Gassama are responsible for leading the prayers. But we jali are always travelling so now the Gassama have taken everything and have become both the religious and the village chiefs.
Jali are found in Pacao, Tanaf and Baniere but the kora comes from here from Darisalam and from our family. Here in Darisalam and Bantanjan we have two families bakely fakely, who come from the same blood. One of the two families descends from the brother of the other. We have relatives in Binako, Soba and Seikdhiou. In Tanaf there is Malonjon and Bourama Kutudjon who play kora. In Batanjan there is Solo and Vieux Kouyate. In Ziguinchor there are the Sissoko and Diabate. Before reaching Ziguinchor there are jali families in Marsaso: the Diabate and the Konte. In Bignona there are the Sissoko and Konte. Also Cherif Sissoko comes from there.
In Ziguinchor there is also another jali family : the Suma but their kora comes from us, from the Diabate. Those who are in Gudoum have learned the kora in Pacao and in Bantanja. We are bakely fakely also with the jali of Soba. Together with the Suma there are also the Konte like Djibarnar whose relatives are Anunbato. In Karom and Dafia the jali are Kouyate who are also our relatives. Once the jalis used to travel in many villages. They could marry in certain villages and for us when you marry a woman the whole family automatically becomes parent. So we are all the same family. For this there, there are the Kouyate in Djaturukunda.
Also in Dafin there are our parents Diabate, Kanoute, Kouyate and Sissoko. Up to Tambacounda there are members of our family. We are dispersing but always in contact. We are like the pumpkin we all come from the same mother and we are tied to the same roots.
Also with the Camara and Lamine here with us we are bakely fakely. Lamine is our fine (jali of jali) and he is tied to us just like we are tied to the nobles. I have to provide him with cloths and money and much more. But now I consider Lamine like my brother, bakely fakely. The finè no right to play kora, they talk about the Hadith (written by the pals of the prophet about his life)”.
Malang concludes his solemn speech and begins playing, accompanied by the women singing and playing the karignan. All those present express their praise and kiss the kora.
“The kora is our identity, it is like a passport – Keidiang explains – We jali can go around with the kora without any documents and everywhere we will find respect. A real jali you can recognize by the kora”
“ The kora comes from our ancestors, it is our life – says Sherif – We jali are very strong people we are proud to be jali, a real jali can travel any country without problems, because if you know the value of a jali you can not suffer, the kora will help you always to live well.”
The ceremony is over and the bull is sacrificed. It is a feast day and everybody has to enjoy. That same day in Diebate Kunda there will be a big sumu to honour us and the warm afternoon flows slowly waiting for the freshness of the darkening. Meanwhile the women make up and dress and wear jewels and look beautiful.
The winter in Casamance is like autumn. The sky is striped with high white clouds, the morning is fresh with the night’s humidity, but the afternoon is warmed by the sun that is strong and burns the skin. Casamance is a green forest rich with water. On the baobabs and mangoes are eagles and vultures.
At five the korafola are on the “like-terrace” earthwork in front of the main construction of Diebate Kunda. Malang is in the centre, Keidian, Vieux, Sambou, Madya and Bakary all sit besides. Together with them is also Omar Diebate he is grandson of Bully and Cherif Sissoko whom we have met in Mali and found in Dakar , who wanted to be with us in Casamance.
Behind the kora players are the women with the karignan. The children are all over and the concert starts. Eight kora playing together they empower the gentile sound of the strings. Malang , Omar and Bakary sing and they sing one after the other songs from the traditional repertoire of Casamance.
The last song is Mofola Teriya, and while we leave our remembrance in Sambou’s courtyard in Bamako and the many nights spent together with the talking of his kora, the women sing to us “bonsoir Italy ”. In the meantime all around, the weak lights fed by the generator of Diebate Kunda, the night is Casamance swallows everything.
This opera by http://www.blogger.com/www.tpafrica.it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione-Non commerciale-Condividi allo stesso modo 2.5 Italia License.
Bearing in mind that all the material published on Internet is of public domain, we specify that the works, films, images and audio samples herewith cited are partially published only with the purpose to divulgate; fordocumentary purposes, illustrative and cultural purposes, in accordance with article 70, comma 1 and 1-bis of law 633 on the author's rights. Article 70, comma 1 enacts the following: "The résumé, the citation or reproduction of songs or part of the works and their communication to the audience are free if used for discussion or criticism purposes, within the limits justified for such purposes and if they do not constitute competition for economic use of the work; if utilized for teaching orscientific research purposes, in addition the use has to be for illustrative and for non commercial purposes. "comma 1 - bis enacts the following: "The free publication through the internet is authorized at no cost, for images and music with low and degraded resolution, for study and scientific purposes and only in the case where this utilization is without lucrative purposes".
The authors or eventual owners of copyright of the material herewith illustrated who consider their rights damaged can ask, eventually, for it to be removed by sending an email to the blog's editorial staff.