Tag Archives: Desert blues

Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Track of the Week

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – Bambugu Blues

On the 24th of March ‘The Rough Guide to Mali’ was released by the world music and travel giants Rough Guides. The first track is ‘Jama Ko’ the song used here on The Hub the first time  Bassekou Kouyate was our choice for Track of the Week.

He returns again with inspiration from another ‘Rough Guide’ compilation, this time making an appearance on ‘The Rough Guide to Desert Blues’. Malian musicians usually associated with desert blues are Tinarwen, Tamikrest and Ali Farka Touré. Mali’s northern regions are where the Sahel merges into the great Sahara Desert – a truely remarkable part of the world. Mali is famous for its music but many are unaware that even the desert sings with a enormous deep hums.

Touré’s home town of  Niafunké is one of the small towns that sit as  a gateway between Bamako and the Malian South and the vast, sparsely-populated North. Bassekou Kouyate, from the southern-central Ségou region, has picked up on themes of the desert blues in ‘Bambugu Blues’ by opening with a trademark lazy guitar lick before launching into gusty, mesmeric vocals. The song sets sail on a quintessentially rolling, slumbering, desert rhythm. It continues along that path to make a truly memorable song.


Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – Bambugu Blues