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'West African' Bands // p 1

Darren's favorite bands for his Song Of The Day filtered by West African
352 Bands
Ali Farka Toure

Ali Farka Toure

Ali Ibrahim "Ali Farka" Touré (31 October 1939 – 6 March 2006) was a Malian singer and multi-instrumentalist, and one of the African continent's most internationally renowned musicians. His music is widely regarded as representing a point of intersection of traditional Malian music and its North American cousin, the blues. The belief that the latter is historically derived from the former is reflected in Martin Scorsese's often quoted characterization of Touré's tradition as constituting "the DNA of the blues". Touré was ranked number 76 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and number 37 on Spin magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

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 'Gomni'

'Gomni'
Tuesday, July 9, 2019

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 'Allah Uya'

'Allah Uya'
Monday, February 4, 2019

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 'Cinquante Six'

'Cinquante Six'
Saturday, August 4, 2018

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 'Inchana Massina'

'Inchana Massina'
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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Amadou & Mariam

Amadou & Mariam

Amadou & Mariam are a musical duo from Mali, composed of the Bamako-born couple Amadou Bagayoko (guitar and vocals) (born 24 October 1954) and Mariam Doumbia (vocals) (born 15 April 1958).

Their album Welcome To Mali (2008) was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album.

Background
Amadou lost his vision at the age of 16, while Mariam became blind at age 5 as a consequence of untreated measles. Known as "the blind couple from Mali", they met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind, where they both performed at the Institute’s Eclipse Orchestra, directed by Idrissa Soumaouro, and found they shared an interest in music. Between 1974 and 1980, Amadou played guitar in the West African band Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako.

In 1980 the couple married and by 1983 they began to play together while Amadou continued a successful solo career and ran the blind institute's music programme.

Amadou is a fan of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.

Style
The duo's early recordings in the 1980s and 1990s featured sparse arrangements of guitar and voice. Since the late 1990s Amadou & Mariam have produced music that mixes traditional Mali sound with rock guitars, Syrian violins, Cuban trumpets, Egyptian ney, Indian tablas and Dogon percussion. In combination these elements have been called "Afro-blues".

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 'Djanfa'

'Djanfa'
Friday, December 13, 2019

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 'M'bifé'

'M'bifé'
Friday, September 28, 2018

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Baaba Maal

Baaba Maal

Baaba Maal (born 12 November 1953) is a Senegalese singer and guitarist born in Podor, on the Senegal River. He is well known in Africa and internationally and is one of Senegal's most famous musicians. In addition to acoustic guitar, he also plays percussion. He has released several albums, both for independent and major labels. In July 2003, he was made a UNDP Youth Emissary.

Maal sings primarily in Pulaar and is the foremost promoter of the traditions of the Pulaar-speaking people, who live on either side of the Senegal River in the ancient Senegalese kingdom of Futa Tooro.

Early life and education
Maal was expected to follow in his father's profession and become a fisherman. However, under the influence of his lifelong friend and family gawlo, blind guitarist Mansour Seck, Maal devoted himself to learning music from his mother and his school's headmaster. He went on to study music at the university in Dakar before leaving for postgraduate studies on a scholarship at Beaux-Arts in Paris.

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 'Bouyel'

'Bouyel'
Saturday, February 8, 2020

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Cheikh Lô

Cheikh Lô

He was born in the late 1950s to Senegalese parents in Bobo Dioulasso in Burkina Faso and began playing drums and singing at an early age.

He joined Orchestre Volta Jazz, a Bobo variety band that played Cuban and Congolese pop songs as well as traditional Burkinabé music. Lô moved to Senegal in 1978, performing in several mbalax outfits. By then, the Zairean sound was in full flower, Camerounian makossa was coming on strong, and reggae had entered the mix, and Lô absorbed everything. In 1985, he was playing guitar with numerous Côte d'Ivoire and French musicians, which led him to record material in Paris in 1987. After his band dissolved, Lô remained in Paris as a session musician, developing his own sound, described as a mix of mbalax, reggae and soukous influences. He spent most of his time in recording studios, and he picked up as much as he could. His casual contacts with Zaire's most successful progressive singer, Papa Wemba, were especially memorable. "I was a drummer. So when there was a group who came and didn't have a drummer, I would practice with them. Papa Wemba's drummer was also a businessman, so if he wasn't there, I would help out. He's from the school of Tabu Ley, and when I was young, I listened to Tabu Ley a lot."

In 1995, Youssou N'Dour offered to produce Lô's debut album, Ne La Thiass, which became a success worldwide.

In 2000, Lô sang alongside Ibrahim Ferrer on "Choco's Guajira", from Cuban pianist Rubén González's, (Buena Vista Social Club) album Chanchullo.

In 2002, he appeared on two tracks of the Red Hot Organization's tribute album to Fela Kuti, Red Hot and Riot. He collaborated with Les Nubians and Manu Dibango on one of the tracks, "Shakara / Lady (Part Two)."

Source Wikipedia

 'Doxandeme'

'Doxandeme'
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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 'Sou'

'Sou'
Thursday, February 21, 2019

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 'Né La Thiass'

'Né La Thiass'
Monday, September 10, 2018

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Fatoumata Diawara

Fatoumata Diawara

Fatoumata Diawara (born 1982 in Ivory Coast) is a Malian actor, singer-songwriter and multiple Grammy Award nominee currently living in France. She received two nominations at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards for Best World Music Album for her album Fenfo and Best Dance Recording for Ultimatum featuring the English band Disclosure.

Biography
Born in the Ivory Coast to Malian parents, Diawara moved to France to pursue acting, appearing in Cheick Oumar Sissoko's 1999 feature film Genesis, Dani Kouyaté's popular 2001 film Sia, le rêve du python, in the internationally renowned street theatre troupe Royal de Luxe, and played a leading role in the musical Kirikou et Karaba. She later took up the guitar and began composing her own material, writing songs that blend Wassoulou traditions of southern Mali with international influences. Noted for her "sensuous voice," she has performed or recorded with Malian and international greats such as Cheick Tidiane Seck, Oumou Sangaré, AfroCubism, Dee Dee Bridgewater (on Red Earth: A Malian Journey), and the Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou. The EP Kanou was released May 9, 2011, and her debut album Fatou from World Circuit Records was released in September 2011. (Nonesuch Records released the Kanou EP digitally in North America on September 27, 2011, and the album Fatou on August 28, 2012.)

In September 2012, she featured in a campaign called "30 Songs / 30 Days" to support Half the Sky, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book. September 2012 also saw her board the Africa Express Train with Damon Albarn, Rokia Traoré, Baaba Maal, Amadou & Mariam, Nicolas Jaar, and the Noisettes, amongst many others. The show culminated in a 4.5k venue in Kings Cross where Fatoumata performed with Paul McCartney.

Fatoumata has spent the recent years touring the world, with a landmark performance for the English-speaking public at Glastonbury 2013. Alongside many European gigs her schedule has taken her to South America, Asia and Australia as well as on multiple trips to the US, where in September 2013 she performed as part of the Clinton Global Initiative alongside The Roots in New York. Since mid-2014 she has been in collaboration with Roberto Fonseca, with numerous live performances and a joint live album, At Home - Live in Marciac, along the way. In 2014 she also extended her list of collaborations by a joint performance with Mayra Andrade and Omara Portuondo. February 2015 saw her first live concert as a meanwhile established international name back home at the Festival Sur Le Niger in Ségou, Mali, where she shared the stage once again with her long-time friend and mentor, Oumou Sangaré; Bassekou Kouyate; and many other domestic acts.

Alongside, she has continued her cinematic activities, with numerous roles, appearances and musical input in multiple feature films, such as the seven times César Award winning and Academy Award nominated 2014 Timbuktu.

Source Wikipedia

 'Alama'

'Alama'
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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Habib Koité

Habib Koité

Habib Koité (Bambara: Habib Kuwate, born 1958 in Thiès, Senegal) is a Malian musician, singer, songwriter based in Mali. His band, Bamada, is a supergroup of West African musicians, which included Kélétigui Diabaté on balafon until his death in 2012.

Koité is known primarily for his unique approach to playing the guitar by tuning it on a pentatonic scale and playing on open strings as one would on a kamale n'goni. Other pieces of his music sound more like the blues or flamenco which are two styles he learned under Khalilou Traore.

Koité's vocal style is intimate and relaxed, emphasizing calm, moody singing rather than operatic technical prowess. Members of Bamada play talking drum, guitar, bass, drum set, harmonica, violin, calabash, and balafon. Koité composes and arranges all songs, singing in English, French, and Bambara.

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 'Den Ko'

'Den Ko'
Saturday, April 13, 2019

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Kaouding Cissoko

Kaouding Cissoko

The kora is the most popular instrument of the griots - the musical caste of west Africa's Wolof and Fula peoples. A cross between a harp and a lute, with 21 to 25 strings, its striking appearance - a gourd-shaped base, which players rest in their groin, and a long, thin, bridged neck - and its beautiful ringing sound have made it west Africa's most revered instrument. Kaouding Cissokho, who has died of tuberculosis aged 38, was internationally acclaimed as one of its masters.
Kaouding was born in Tamba Counda, eastern Senegal, the son of the famous oral historian and kora player Banna Cissokho. Being born into a griot family would normally have meant he was studying kora at the feet of his father. Yet his parents sent him to a vocational school to be a carpenter.

But Kaouding's desire to play the instrument led him, with his brother's kora, to take lessons from his uncle Cheick Diabate, a fine guitarist. As a result he turned into a more experimental musician than the tradition-bound players in his family - and, when touring the world, he added double bass pickups to make his kora's ringing tone heard above the electric guitars and keyboards.

Kaouding began by accompanying griot praise singers - reciting the histories and accomplishments of their employers - with his fluid finger work creating exquisite melodies. He came into his own when he teamed up with Baaba Maal, who is ranked second in terms of international following only to Youssou N'Dour among Senegalese singers.

Soon Kaouding was playing in Europe, the United States and Asia. His energy and joy fitted well into Maal's show, while his desire to experiment - he is remembered as a funky, boundary-crossing player by aficionados - found him playing on recordings with Senegalese rappers Positive Black Soul, the late Pakistani qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and on Jamaican jazz guitarist Ernest Ranglin's acclaimed In Search Of The Lost Riddim (1998). On this last, his light melodic touch provided the perfect accompaniment to Ranglin's dazzling lead guitar.

Kaouding was a co-founder of Afro-Celt Sound System, formed in 1996 at a Real World recording week. This musical collaboration, at Peter Gabriel's Real World label's Wiltshire studios, follows each summer's Womad festival. Mixing west African and Celtic instrumentation over electronic dance rhythms suggested a mess in the making, but the result was Real World's bestselling album. The Afro-Celts became a summer festival fixture and, while Kaouding's commitment to Maal kept him from becoming an Afro-Celt fulltimer, he contributed much to their development.

In November 1998, Kaouding joined Maal in New York for the Red, Hot And Rhapsody George Gershwin tribute concerts and recording. The kora lines on Bess, You Is My Woman sparkle and shimmer. Maal's 2001 album Missing You (Mi Yeewnii) was hailed as a triumph, and a good deal of that glory must be shared with Kaouding and his exquisite kora rhythms and melodies. His solo album Kora Revolution was released in 1999.

Kaouding had been ill for a few weeks and, thinking he had been cursed, visited various witchdoctors. At Maal's urging, he finally sought hospital treatment - expensive in Senegal - where he was diagnosed. Kaouding was, as his tour manager observed, "one of the kindest and most generous people that you could meet".

He is survived by his second wife and three children.

· Kaouding Cissokho, musician, born November 2 1964; died July 18 2003.

Source theguardian.com

 'Kora Revolution'

'Kora Revolution'
Monday, June 15, 2020

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 'Senegal-Mauritanie'

'Senegal-Mauritanie'
Saturday, November 10, 2018

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Mdou Moctar

Mdou Moctar

Mdou Moctar (also known as M.dou Mouktar; born c. 1986) is a Tuareg songwriter and musician based in Agadez, Niger, and is one of the first musicians to perform modern electronic adaptations of Tuareg guitar music. He first became famous through a subtle trading network of cellphones and memory cards in West Africa.

Mdou Moctar is a popular wedding performer and sings about Islam, education, love and peace in Tamasheq. He plays a left-handed Fender in a takamba and assouf style. He is originally from Abalak and has also lived in Tchintabaraden and Libya.

His first album, Anar, was recorded in Sokoto, Nigeria in 2008 and prominently featured "spaced-out" autotuned vocals and the influence of Hausa music. The album was not officially released at the time but the songs became hugely popular across the Sahel when they went viral through cell-phone music trading networks. They reached a global audience when Sahel Sounds released his music on the Music from Saharan Cellphones: Volume 1 compilation. Two songs were covered with English homophone lyrics by Brainstorm, an American band from Portland, Oregon. Anar was released on vinyl in 2014 with a high price, due to "predatory business practices" from Sixt on Moctar's first European tour.

His next album, Afelan, was recorded live in Tchintabaraden and features "rusty-edged jams and sun-weathered ballads". The title track is named after a celebrated historical/folkloric hero of the Azawough of Western Niger. It contains a cover of "Chet Boghassa" by Tinariwen.

On his first realizations and interest of an audience outside of the Saharan region, Moctar said in late 2014: "“I first met (Christopher Kirkley of Sahel Sounds) on the mobile phone as he had called me ... It was a weird conversation, as I thought my cousin was pulling a joke on me so I hung up. This American guy calling me, saying he wanted to work with me for my music, it just couldn’t be real. He called me again and we talked. He came to visit me in my village and also sent me a lefthanded guitar, which is very hard to find in Niger. This guitar has crossed several African countries to arrive in my hands, I have been playing it ever since!

Source Wikipedia

 'Anar'

'Anar'
Friday, March 8, 2019

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Orchestra Baobab

Orchestra Baobab

Orchestra Baobab is a Senegalese band established in 1970 as the house band of the Baobab Club in Dakar. Many of the band's original members had previously played with Star Band de Dakar in the 1960s. Directed by timbalero and vocalist Balla Sidibe, the group features saxophonists Issa Cissoko and Thierno Koité, two singers, two guitarists and a rhythm section with drums, congas and bass guitar. Since their formation, the band has predominantly played a mix of son cubano, Wolof music, and to a lesser extent Mande musical traditions.

Orchestra Baobab became one of the dominant African bands of the 1970s, recording 20 albums before their breakup in 1987, which occurred as a result of the increase in popularity of mbalax, a more contemporary genre of Senegalese music. In the years following their disbandment, World Circuit released several of their albums on CD, making the band very popular among world music fans in the UK and the rest of Europe. This prompted their reformation in 2001, which was followed by the recording of a new album, Specialist in All Styles. The group continues to tour extensively and has released two more studio albums, Made in Dakar (2007) and Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng (2017).

Many of the original members were veterans of the famous Star Band, whose alumni later included the Étoile de Dakar, El Hadji Faye and Youssou N’Dour. Star Band were the resident band of the upscale Dakar Miami Club. When the Baobab Club opened in Dakar in 1970, six musicians, led by saxophonist Baro N'Diaye, were lured from Star Band and the Orchestra Baobab was born. The club, in turn, is named for the baobab tree (Adansonia).

The original frontmen of the band were the Casamance singers Balla Sidibe and Rudy Gomis, who came from the melting pot of Casamance musical styles, and most famously Laye M'Boup, who provided vocals in the Wolof griot style. His Wolof language lyrics and his soaring, nasal voice defined the sound of Baobab's early hits. Togolese guitarist and arranger Barthélémy Attisso was a law student in Dakar, and a self-taught musician, whose arpeggiated runs became instantly recognizable. With the saxophone of N'Diaye, this was the first core of the band. After touring Cameroon in 1971, N'Diaye was replaced by tenor saxophonist Issa Cissoko, who became leader of the band, and was joined by clarinettist Peter Udo. Both Cissoko and drummer Mountaga Koité were from Maninka griot families, from Mali and eastern Senegal, respectively. The group's lineup was rounded out by the slow groove Latin styles of Latfi Benjeloum (rhythm guitar), who came from a Moroccan family exiled to Saint-Louis, Senegal, and Charlie N'Diaye (bass) from Casamance.

The group's first recodings were released as Orchestre Saf Mounadem on a split album with Orchestre Laye Thiam, another band of ex-Star Band musicians. Attisso is credited as musical director, and singers Balla Sidibe and Medoune Diallo (who had stayed with the Star Band a bit longer than the others), along with Issa Cissoko are also credited on the cover. Like most of the recordings by Star Band, the album was produced by Ibrahim Kassé, and was later reissued in France under the title Star Band de Dakar Vol. 7.

Their first two albums under the name Orchestra Baobab, were recorded at the Baobab Club between 1970 and 1972, and self-produced by the band. Both bear the title Orchestre du Baobab.

Source Wikipedia

 'Jiin ma jiin ma'

'Jiin ma jiin ma'
Saturday, February 15, 2020

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 'Bikowa'

'Bikowa'
Friday, June 21, 2019

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Ry Cooder

Ry Cooder

Ryland Peter "Ry" Cooder (born March 15, 1947) is an American musician, songwriter, film score composer, and record producer. He is a multi-instrumentalist but is best known for his slide guitar work, his interest in roots music from the United States, and his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries

Cooder's solo work draws upon many genres. He has played with John Lee Hooker, Captain Beefheart, Ali Farka Touré, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, David Lindley, The Chieftains, The Doobie Brothers, and Carla Olson & the Textones (on record and film). He formed the band Little Village. He also produced the Buena Vista Social Club album (1997), which became a worldwide hit. Wim Wenders directed the documentary film of the same name (1999), which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000.

Cooder was ranked eighth on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" (David Fricke's Picks). A 2010 ranking by Gibson placed him at number 32.

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 'La Luna en Tu Mirada'

'La Luna en Tu Mirada'
Saturday, September 14, 2019

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 'Los Twangueros'

'Los Twangueros'
Saturday, June 8, 2019

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 'Secret Love'

'Secret Love'
Monday, October 22, 2018

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 'Isa Lei'

'Isa Lei'
Monday, October 1, 2018

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The Touré-Raichel Collective

The Touré-Raichel Collective

The formation and success of The Touré-Raichel Collective, the band led by Israeli keyboardist and songwriter Idan Raichel and Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré—icons in their own countries and abroad—is a reminder of the unique power of music to bridge geographic, ethnic, political and religious differences.

Although a collaboration between an Israeli Jew and a Malian Muslim has unavoidable political implications, what inspired Touré and Raichel to work together was not the potential to make a statement; they simply connected as artists and friends seeking to find musical common ground.

 They met for the first time by chance, in 2008 at the Berlin airport, where they expressed mutual admiration and a desire to get together and play. Touré’s father, the late great Ali Farka Touré, was one of Raichel’s musical heroes and inspirations. Raichel invited Touré to Israel, where they assembled a few musicians and convened an unscripted, improvised jam session. The chemistry between Touré and Raichel was instant and profound. They assumed the name The Touré-Raichel Collective and used the material from that first gathering as the basis for their first album, The Tel Aviv Session, which found poignant, musically beautiful common ground between the artists’ cultures.

Source cumbancha.com

 'Azawade'

'Azawade'
Friday, November 29, 2019

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Tinariwen

Tinariwen

Tinariwen, pronounced tinariwen "deserts", plural of ténéré "desert" is a group of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. The band was formed in 1979 in Tamanrasset, Algeria, but returned to Mali after a cease-fire in the 1990s. The group first started to gain a following outside the Sahara region in 2001 with the release of The Radio Tisdas Sessions, and with performances at Festival au Désert in Mali and the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. Their popularity rose internationally with the release of the critically acclaimed Aman Iman in 2007. NPR calls the group "music's true rebels", AllMusic deems the group's music "a grassroots voice of rebellion", and Slate calls the group "rock 'n' roll rebels whose rebellion, for once, wasn't just metaphorical"

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 'Ténéré Tàqqàl'

'Ténéré Tàqqàl'
Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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