Speaking of Djeneba Seck, Tigne is another one of my favorites. The beauty of this cassette in my eyes, is its simplicity, Djeneba's simple honesty as a singer. What I mean is that she is not exerting herself to impress us with her prowess as a vocalist; rather, she is impressing us by her effortless talent as a vocalist--like she's just speaking, but speaking very beautifully.
Acoustic musique malienne is my favorite. I like the playful guitar and flute introduction on Yere Ladi. And during the song Foulbe I imagine a courtyard procession with drummers clacking and women dressed in their finest wax, stepping in time as they march down the center of crowded lines of people. It seems as though Zoumana Tereta is the go-to, when it comes to soku. I have no complaints with that.
Sterns put this out as a CD (titled Truth in English) and I can notice two differences: the CD has a twelfth track that my cassette does not, and the cover is different--so I didn't post Sterns', yet mine is with the physical tape miles and miles away. I do suspect however, that my tape--regardless of it having a jacket--is a bootleg anyway, which would explain a lot to me.
I remember standing on a balcony one night in the quartier Hamdallaye in Bamako, hearing this tape blaring out of a boom-box from below and I immediately melted; not because of the absurdly oppressive heat, but because of Djeneba's voice. And months later on a rather uneventful bus-ride, at least in terms of what one might imagine a bus-ride in Mali could be like, Anka Maliba was one of a handful of songs on the one mix-tape in the bus, played morning till night for two-and-a-half days (Bamako-->Dakar, the train had wrecked weeks earlier, sadly killing my friend who preferred to be called Mike (pictured below). If it were not for his friendship and those which followed as a result, my life would be quite different today). Come to think of it, there was a group of Nigerians on that bus who were relocating to Gambia. I served as translator between the French speaking and English speaking, and tossed in whatever Wolof or Bambara I could handle (I was better at Wolof). At the Senegal-Mali border I was the only person not required to bribe my way through; the officers were very cordial. So I guess more happened on that ride than I tend to give credit...in any event, I bought the tape.
**Pictured below is Mike, from Benin. He more-or-less lived on the train (pictured above), taking and filling orders between the Dakar and Bamako markets. He and dozens others never paid passage but knew exactly when to avoid the train officials, thus avoiding any unfortunate incidents. The train took five days and four nights. I don't know if that's normal, though it wouldn't surprise me.**