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Articles tagged with: Mali

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Mamadou Diabaté -Courage- World Village

A couple weeks ago, John Schaefer of WNYC radio, declared on air that Toumani Diabaté was the number one kora player in the world and that Ballaké Cissoko was number two. It is a statement that could only have come from an ignorant, white supremacist who is infinitely not qualified to make such a ranking. I am sure he is not alone in such thinking. There are many like him who think that the one [or two] from any African country, lucky enough to have album releases and concerts in Europe and North America, must be the best from that particular country. The trouble with Schaefer [and his ilk] is that he wouldn’t know a Sila Ba from a Tiliji if they both managed to penetrate the wax to his inner ear, but he still feels no shame in pontificating like an expert.

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African Music Review: The Best [and the Worst] of 2010.

It’s that time again. Time to make the obligatory, end of the year “best of” list and please people with my choices and comments or annoy people who didn’t see CDs from their country or by their favourite artists on it.
Well, let’s say for starters that this is a list that contain CDs that I have received this past year. Needless to say, I have not received or reviewed every CD release of African music in the past 12 months. CD sales are down and it harder than ever to get some record labels to send music to radio stations.

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Timbuktu Tarab by Khaira Arby. CD Review.

The latest ceedee by Khaira Arby [Timbuktu Tarab] is on the market. Finally! Arby and her group have been touring America for at least a month with many gigs behind them and no ceedee to sell to her legion of new fans. Of course, Arby is not new to me, to wit, I own Mali only releases of her music on K7.

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Khaira Arby in Concert in New York

The west African country of Mali is a rich place with a noble history which began even before the decisive juncture circa 1234, with the epic victory of Soundiata Keïta over Soumangourou Kanté. The country was destined for greatness. The economic poverty that the country finds itself in right now is nothing but a blink of the eye in their long, majestic timeline. Mali is still great. In the area of music, they are without peer.

Ms. Arby possesses a commanding stage presence and she exuded confidence that her music could move people despite the linguistic chasm between her and her audience which she bridged with the endearing use of the few English words she knew. She created the ambiance for a total enjoyment of the music.

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Hypnotic Deserts

Tinariwen means “deserts” in Tamasheq language of Tuareg. It’s also a name of the band of musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. Tinariwen remains a voice of political and social conscience in the southern Sahara. They are idealized by a whole generation of young Touareg living in exile in Algeria and Libya. In the last 10 years Tinariwen has become increasingly popular in Europe and USA. Tinariwe’s lyrics tell the stories of the suffering and exile of their people, the semi-nomadic Kel Tamashek of the southern Sahara, and about the beauty of their desert home.

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Deconstructing “world music” at the Grammys

African music, as a product, is as vulnerable to exploitation and theft as any of our other resources such as gold, diamonds, uranium, coltan, statues, obelisks, kenté cloth, bauxite, copper et cetera, et cetera. The history of the last two centuries shows that the musical creations of Africans in America have always been open for exploitation and appropriation. Beginning with the banjo. The image on the left is that of Mali’s own Mamadou Diabaté. He looks handsome and proud as he poses with his Grammy award for best traditional “world music” album 2010. Unfortunately, the great majority of e-mails I received about these past awards was not about his win. In the blogosphere, his win was overshadowed by the controversial win by Bela Fleck.