Monday, January 18, 2010

K7-1: Seydou Camara, K7-2: Sali Sidibe

My first contributions--two, in an effort to make a small splash at this birth announcement--are actually a little harder to find. The first cassette is of kamelengoni master, Seydou Camara, recorded by Radio Wassoulou. He is a very technical player; all of his fills are spot on, his mastery of muting and opening the strings, and the metallic ping he hits on the first string for an accent could ring on forever in space. What I love most is the trotting rhythm and bounce he maintains; definitely a wassoulou sound.

I sadly did not get much information about the recording, as in for what occasion is he playing or where specifically. I presume it's in Yanfolila, but it could be from one of the villages surrounding the Wassoulou capitale. I heard the first track on the radio while hanging out at the mechanic shop recently opened by Papa Sidibe along the recently paved main road from Bamako to Guinee. There's a lick he plays in the first 20 seconds that I recognized immediately as a song I learned to play with Sekou (pictured behind the title of this blog). In the following days I tracked down the tape at Radio Wassoulou and had the DJ, a fellow Sidibe, spin me a copy. The kamelengoni (not necessarily this recording, as I didn't hear this until years after I had already tombe en amour, for some reason I can't get an accent over that e), is one of the many reasons that I fell in love with the dusty corner of Mali. Two of the other reasons are the Sidibe and Coulibaly families, of whom you can read in previous posts. More on the kamelengoni later.

**As I was writing this I took a dip in the internet ocean and came up with this. It is an excerpt from a translated text in the 70s, which I'm trying to track down. If this is the same Seydou Camara, he was a donsongoni player, but this cassette sounds more like the stylings of kamelengoni. And Seydou died in 1981 in his village, as I was told and this article excerpt corroborates, so this tape must be from the 1970s. This assumes that there isn't another ngoni player named Seydou Camara who might have created this gem, which there is, but I think he's more of the contemporary pop-Wassoulou style. Does anyone know?**

Mango number two is the formidable Sali Sidibe. I was told that this recording was made when she was quite young for Radio Mali, which is, at least now, known as our beloved ORTM. Does anyone know more than that? I know one song is about trees, and I think I remember being told it was about deforestation, as people go out into the forest and cut trees to sell for stove-burning. I like the instrumentation, and what sounds like a synthesized snare drum actually works very well, but judging by the hi-hat it could be a real snare. I always like flute and soku, and of course the kamelengoni. Track two opens with a rhythm popularized by Allata Broulaye's song Sabu. I've come across many stories about the true "origins" of popular kamelengoni, mostly parallel stories giving different names more weight. I'll get back to that later. Enjoy! Leave comments.

Most of the tapes I will present were kindly spun by Bengali in Banjul. He loves Ganda Fadiga. Most of that back wall of tapes were Ganda Fadiga performances. At the time I didnt realize how much I liked him as well. Perhaps a future trip will correct this terrible erreur.


Anonymous said...

Only comment is the best work of Sali Sidibe I've heard, think Zoumana Tereta is playing soku , but more surprising is that the guitar seems to Zani Diabaté and keyboards Cheick Tidiane Seck.

After two days listening continuously,I´ll come back later with fresher mind to comment on this and other tapes now just wanted to thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...


the first song - "Anw Be No Don" is taken from Sali Sidibe et son ensemble, vol 1.
This was produced and realised by "le service d' eaux et forets DNEF-PADREF, which dates from March 1989; Sweet sound S-006.


Anonymous said...

I think I can understand something that Sali said, she speaks of the danger of fire to the forest, the forest belongs to everyone, the trees are pretty, are important to the community, there must plant trees, do not burn the trees , trees are the homeland, are good for agriculture.

The three tracks are very similar, the first and third have the same refrain.

Had only seen a reference to "Sali Sidibe et son ensemble, vol 1" in the radioafrica playlist with the titles Tadon Kungola Manyi and Anw Ka Jiri,but not in his Mali discography.

Perhaps this is the contents of the cassette:

1-Anw Be No Don

2-Tadon Kungola Manyi

3-Anw Ka Jiri

Anyone know it yhis is true?

I do not recognize now to Zani nor to Tidiane Seck, but I think is Zoumana Tereta.