Tag Archives: Kouyate

Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Bassekou Kouyate – Désert Nianafing feat. Amy Sacko, Afel Bocoum & Ahmed ag Kaedi

Such was the success of last weekend’s ‘Festival sur la Niger’ that some commentators have declared Segou, the host town, the new cultural capital of Mali. Segou’s Mayor goes a step further, declaring it a centre of cultural excellence in West Africa. Indeed the festival is proving to be a triumph of modern Mali embracing a music as a vehicle – literally a ‘caravan’ – for peace and for recognising rap and hip-hop as a – perhaps the – powerful contemporary art form. Tourism and diplomatic interest has been spurred on by the strength of character and ambition displayed in preparing the festival.

Bassekou Kouyate performed on the Saturday evening, along with a host of big names in the Malian music world, in what must have been the most vivid, passionate and liberating artistic expression to occur in Mali for some years. This week’s Song of the Week celebrates every ounce of work that has been ploughed into making the above a reality. Reading about the peaceful success of an important national  show-piece makes the heart swell with hope.

 

 

Bassekou Kouyate – Désert Nianafing feat. Amy Sacko, Afel Bocoum & Ahmed ag Kaedi

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