Tag Archives: Congo

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

Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Mulele Matondo Afrika & Friends – Mali La Paix

As international efforts get underway in Mali to support the reconstruction of Mali’s damaged World Heritage Sites, here at the Hub we are doing our own style of international convergence. For the first time in its history our Mali Song of the Week will be a song from outside Mali.

Now there is no need to panic, as the song is beautifully crafted and definitely has everything we know and love about Mali at the heart of it. It dates back to the dark days of early 2013  when the future of Mali was in jeopardy. The song was created by UK-based Congolese artist Mulele Matondo Afrika after he brought together an international group of London-based artists to record ‘Mali La Paix’ which means  ‘Peace in Mali’. It was written to promote peace and show solidarity with Mali.  The song is a grand collaboration of over 20 musicians and vocalists inspired by Fatoumata Diawara‘s own contribution of ‘Voices United for Mali‘. Diversity, openness and tolerance are obvious themes in ‘Mali La Paix’ with each artist contributing their own individual styles  in nearly ten different languages.
Speaking in January 2013, Mulele Matondo Afrika explains why he was motivated to respond to the crisis:

“The conflict in Mali is an issue for Africa, and for the rest of the world. I wanted to add to what Fatoumata Diawara did with ‘Voices United for Mali’ to help to raise awareness everywhere in order to promote peace in Africa. As an African, I see the war in Mali as another wound for Africa and I wanted to show solidarity with my African brothers and sisters. This time, it is Mali, but my own home, Congo, has been suffering for decades and all over Africa, there is suffering.”

He continues, painting a very vivid image of a continent:

“Africa is like the body of a person and every time there is war, Africa bleeds and she is always bleeding somewhere – someone is always wounding Africa. That is what the chorus lyrics are about.”

Mulele Matondo Afrika is one of a growing number of sophisticated, motivated and outspoken young artists from the continent that are expressing their political frustrations through their music. He is also continuing a tradition of using music as a vehicle for pan-African philosophies. His solo album ‘Prophecy’ is a shining example, and so is this week’s Song of the Week. It is inspirational stuff and makes for an even richer experience as a listener.  


 

Mulele Matondo Afrika & Friends – Mali La Paix


The song is available as a free download here