Sunday, March 16, 2008
Magic from Mali
My journey back to vinyl was kickstarted whilst living in Sydney during 1999-2004. I met Tony aka Muvimi, compiler of Harare Hits and was blown away by his African music selection that he had pieced together at stores in Melbourne, Sydney and during his travels in Zimbabwe and further afield. This led to regular visits to Red Eye Records, Egg Records and to the Glebe Record Fair. On the first few visits to the fair there were bits and pieces but on the last journey I came across a table and a box of records that were packed with rare, high quality LPs. I did a quick flip through and pulled out the two LPs I'm sharing today. There were a whole lot more that I ould have loved to buy but the seller knew what he was selling and there were no real bargains. For me just finding these records was more than I expected.
Graeme Counsel at the Radio Africa website has this to say about the L'Orchestre National "A" de la République du Mali LP:
"Modibo Keita was Mali's first President, ruling the nation from 1960 to 1968. Inspired by Guinea's Sékou Touré, his government enacted a radical cultural policy which saw the formation of regional and national orchestras. L'Orchestre National "A" de la République du Mali were the first of these bands, and were formed the day after Mali's independence. In accordance with the cultural policies of the new government, the orchestra consisted of "musicians sworn to serve their country by contributing with all their genius to the protection and revalorization of Malian musical art". The orchestra contained some of the best musicians in the land, though not all could fit into one band, hence the existence in later years of the National "B" and "C" orchestras. The National "A" orchestra was led by Keletigui Diabaté, a multi-instrumentalist who played lead guitar in the group. The connection between Guinean and Malian cultural policy is enshrined in the group, for Keletigui was a former member of Guinea's Orchestré de la Garde Républicaine (Première Formation). The National "A' Orchestra's only LP (pictured above) was released in circa 1970 on the Bärenreiter-Musicaphon label. It contains two songs from the epic narrative tradition of the griots, "Taara" and "Duga", the latter on par with the best performances recorded in Mali. The exceptional number on the LP, however, is "Janfa", a song concerning a lover's betrayal (also performed by the Tjiwarra Band, among others). It's a superb number with a mesmerizing guitar solo by Keletigui Diabaté, and it was surely an inspiration for many of the nation's musicians. It's criminal that this LP, along with the other Bärenreiter's, has never been re-released."
25 Downloads ONLY
The second LP comes from the Orchestre Regional de Segou and was also originally released in 1970 on the Bärenreiter-Musicaphon label. The band later morphed into Super Biton de Segou.
25 Downloads ONLY
The only time someone has tried to re-issued these materials was in the late 80s when Sterns put out the Mali Music - Legendary Bands of Mali release featuring the following tracks:
1. Mali Cebalenw- Orchestre Rail Band de Bamako
2. Batumanbe-Orchestre Regional de Segou
3. Janfa-Orchestre National A de la Republique du Mali
4. Recital-Orchestre Regional de Mopti
5. Nanyuman-Orchestre Regional de Kayes
6. Mali Senekelaw-Orchestre Regional de Sikasso
7. Kayi-Orchestre Regional de Kayes
8. Duga-Orchestre National A de la Republique du Mali
So enjoy this limited access to these treasures and ask Sterns to reissue that compilation.
at 2:42 PM