Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Kandia Kouyaté & Sekouba “Bambino” Kouyaté – Djomaya 

Last January, we opened the year with a Malian griot performing with a Cuban twist. This time round its the turn of Malian griot by the name of Kandia Kouyaté singing in collaboration with Guinean guitarist Sekouba “Bambino” Kouyaté. The song thunders along with a booming drum (emphasised through the poor quality of the recording) with the soaring vocals of Kouyaté and exquisite guitaring from Bambino.

Both artists have interesting passages on their Wikipedia pages. Kandia Kouyaté’s mentions the fact that she has only remained widely popular in West Africa. The page offers the explanation of the “extremely limited availability of her recordings” for her inability to gain traction outside of her geographic home.

The internet and the continued work of dedicated enthusiasts offers some hope in this regard. Only recently has the Hub become aware of this YouTube channel (the one which hosts this week’s Song of the Week). Hundreds of videos containing dozens of different Malian and West African musicians have been uploaded here over the last few years. Previously, this music has only ever been available to those with access to the right tape cassette or within range of a well-stocked radio station. This rich archive is now accessible worldwide, along with images and videos – and faces – of the people who made it. Another YouTube gem available for anyone to see is very dated footage of one of Kandia Kouyaté’s first televised performances when she was a teenager.
On a separate note, Happy New Year!


Kandia Kouyaté & Sekouba Bambino Kouyaté – Djomaya

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