Monday, August 2, 2010
K7-18: Bintou Sidibe
In place of an image of the Bintou cassette, which I don't have, is a picture my friend drew in one of my notebooks that I rediscovered the other day. Thanks Nicole!
Voici another wassoulou treasure. My brief searches for information on Bintou Sidibe were rather fruitless (although this was cool). Bintou is of the old school of wassoulou women, among Coumba Sidibe, Kagbe Sidibe, and early Oumou Sangare. One brief conversation with friends in Yanfolila at the time, recounted a story where Bintou and Oumou recorded their cassettes at roughly the same time in the late 80's, and essentially raced to get them on the market. As I was told, Oumou's cassette got there first and blew up (perhaps for obvious reasons when you listen to both side by side), while Bintou remained locally famous, but not internationally so.
I don't have a version of Oumou's "Moussolou" cassette up to download, nor have I come across one in the vast internet ocean. And the quality of the youtube links that follow aren't great. Nevertheless...listen to the similarities between Bintou's track Nene and Oumou's Diaraby Nene. And then listen to the nearly identical opening to Bintou's Neye Dounanye and Oumou's Djama Kaissoumou. It wouldn't surprise me if they had a lot of overlap between studio musicians which may have fed-back between the artists.
Oumou's versions, and her cassette overall, seem tailored to a broader audience, more tightly arranged, quicker and less exploratory. Bintou's on the other hand are long-form and embody the impovisational prowess for which local Mande music is known. (That might be a question Ngoniba can answer(?))
In general I think I prefer the long-form and extended instrumental parts in Bintou's tape. The relaxed tempo of all the music is quite pretty and the small ensemble allows the intricate and rhythmic playing of each instrument to blend very well; nothing is muddled (wait for Vol. 2, full of synthesizers and drum machine). Oumou's production incorporates modern drums (mostly just a hi-hat), a violin instead of soku, and pop arrangements. Diaraby Nene might be one of my all-time favorite wassoulou songs out there (especially the remastered 2003 version where you can clearly hear the kamelen'goni).
*update* here is Bintou's cassette cover