Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Rail Band ft. Magan Ganessy – Kibaru

This week’s song comes from the legendary Malian super-group the Rail Band. One of the most popular acts in Malian musical history, the Rail Band rode the rising wave of African music’s mid-20th Century obsession with Latin – and especially Cuban – influences. According to the Band’s Wikipedia page this trend started in the Congo in the 1940s, but did not emerge in West Africa till later. This made the Rail Band one of the pioneers of Afro-Latin fusion in Mali. It is a musical genre which is having something of a renaissance in Europe and America, with 60s and 70s African funk being frequently developed by DJs into hip-hop and house sets.

To our knowledge, three of the Rail Band’s previous members have been present in the Song of the Week already, Salif Keita being the most famous of them. He left to join the rival Ambassadeurs group early in the project’s timeline however. Luckily, superb guitarist and Rail Band legend Djelimady Tounkara joined before Salif Keita departed, and they were able to share some industrious time together. Nainy Diabaté, another enormously popular Malian musician, also developed her career with the band.

This week we have one direct from the group proper that certainly shows off its Latin influences extensively. Some outstanding guitar work in the mid-section too. The Latin aspect is fitting in light of the close of an truly excellent World Cup Finals in Brazil last weekend. Enjoy.

Rail Band ft. Magan Ganessy – Kibaru

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