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by World Music Network October 30, 2015


Lost in Mali: Off The Beaten Track from Bamako to Timbuktu

Released 30 October 2015

The sound scape present from the streets of Mali can be perfectly encompassed in this one album ‘Lost in Mali’. The ambience and atmosphere ofchildren’s laughter against adult chatter, grinding work sounds and distant honking traffic are the woven commonplace sounds of everyday life. Riverboat Records ‘Lost In…’ series beams you straight to far flung locations. What’s more, all of the tracks presented here are new and original recordings never heard before. The album was compiled by on-the-ground experts Philippe Sanmiguel and Paul Chandler. Sanmiguel manages and produces Malian artists such as Samba Touré and Anansy Cissé, while Chandler runs Studio Mali, a production company, recording studio and record label based in Bamako. 

John Renbourn: The Attic Tapes

Lost in Mali

Keeping an ear to the ground for today’s Malian sounds, these tunes were specially recorded for this release and feature inspirational new artists yet to be heard outside their homeland.

Available now on CD, Download & with Subscription 

Opening track ‘Ne Sabou’ spotlights Nainy Koné’s sultry and smooth vocal performance. Tama (talking drum) is heard bending and braiding through the texture, atop looping strings and impatient shaker. Nainy Koné’s father was from Segou, the same region as Bwazan, the band who contribute ‘An Ka Foli Ke’. The balafon (xylophone) and the doundoun, djembe, yabarra and barra traditional drums are heard prominently here. Rolling and repeating in a manner that directly calls to mind the work of the American minimalism movement led by composers Glass, Reich and Riley, who were influenced by exactly this type of African polyrhythmic repetition. Also linked to the Segou region is track ‘Yawoyé’ from veteran musician Sabu Dorienté. Hailing from Timbuktu but played in the Orchestre Régional De Ségou for many years. Ali Baba Cissé is from the rich musical soils of Niafunké. His song ‘Kaya’, in rootsy Fulani style, is laid-back and languorous starring acoustic guitar, ngoni (lute), monochord and calabash (drum).

Bocar Sangaré also from Niafunké, is a traditional Fulani musician who plays regularly for local weddings and celebrations but has never before recorded his sound in the studio. ‘Diaru’ opens with a recitative, followed by a passionately sung refrain of a traditional theme which celebrates peace and joyful reunions. Also from Niafunké and continuing the theme of peaceful reconciliation are the band Alkibar Junior, former students of Afel Bocoum who carry on his musical legacy. Their song ‘La Paix’ is a call for peace and harmony following the occupation of Niafunké by militant separatist rebels and religious extremists back in 2012. Linked to the simmering social issues currently present in Malian society, all of the songs on this album emit moral messages or contain symbolic historic reflections. Kabako Bourama is from the Wassoulou region of Southern Mali and uses the kamele ngoni harp on the happy track ‘Louansé’. Here Ramata Diakité’s lyrics speak of the hardships facing Malians who are seeking housing. ‘Djagatoula’ by Barou Drame tells of the mystical power of ancient hunters who have passed through the sacred Djagatoula forest.

The next track ‘Farinya Manji’ implores listeners to practice kindness to one another. This track was recorded by the orchestra of The Bamako School for the Blind – the very same educational institution where superstars Amadou & Mariam first met. Modiba Diabaté sings ‘Bonya’ and implores rich Malians to invest their wealth back into their motherland. Finding ourselves in Bamako, Mali’s capital, urban styles seep into the groove. Reggae rides high on ‘Adjobawla’ by Kas 2 Kastro, who works in the Malian capital. Baba MD (aka Mamoutou Dembele) is famed in the Bamako clubs for mixing Bwa traditional tunes with kora and other Mandingue instrumentation. 

Explore the rich tapestry of sonic exploration through Mali. Head off the beaten track to enjoy Mali’s inspirational new artists from the villages of Bamako to Timbuktu.

Available now on CD, Download & with Subscription 

Lost In Mali Street