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Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba - I Speak Fula

  by Maarten Schiethart

published: 11 / 11 / 2009

Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba - I Speak Fula
Label: Out/Here
Format: CD


Impeccable and solid new album from Mali musician Bassekou Kouyate, which makes masterful use of West-African traditional instruments

Bassekou Kouyate was a member of Orchestre du Buffet Hôtel de la Gare de Bamako whose mono LPs incidently got sponsored by tourist agencies and ironically enough by an airway company once; they were usually funded by the Ministry of Culture in Mali. Ali Farka's son Vieux Touré and Kasse Mady and Toumani Diabaté guest star on this impeccable showdown from masters of West-African snare instruments. Now almost 35 years later, tradition goes full cycle. From the Bamako region originate many ngoni players. 'I Speak Fula' is the second Ngoni ba album for the German Out|Here label and overall a more solid performance. Mind that the Ngoni ba sound is a lightweight one, with the calabash drum and the yabara as practically the only percussion instruments. The ngoni is by the way a type of lute and is made from wood and from calabash as well, The sound of a ukulele comes close to that produced by the ngoni. Used both as a twittering solo instrument and an empathetic slide guitar, it is a truly handy little item. 'Bambugu Blues' captures, in one go, the best of Niger river music like Boubacar Traoré and Ali Farka Touré played it decades ago. 'I Speak Fula' relates to the Fula culture Sub-Saharan Africa. Fula lives on in vocal tradition only as all physical evidence of it has simply vanished under the blistering sun. Jiggy guitar dances with some incredible harmony singing retell rural myths and stories on this mildly wild album. Dwelling too much on past history, you say? 'Jamana Be Diya', on the contrary, calls for an appeasement now that Obama is the president elect of the mightiest nation. It uis too early days to already detect a trend but the sheer gladness on 'I speak Fula' holds a promise. This is majestic music.

Track Listing:-
1 I Speak Fula
2 Jamana Be Diya (feat. Kasse Mady Diabate, Toumani Diabate)
3 Musow - For Our Women
4 Torin Torin (feat. Harouna Samake)
5 Bambugu Blues (feat. Andra Kouyate, Vieux Farka Toure)
6 Amy (feat. Zoumana Tereta)
7 Saro (feat. Vieux Farka Toure)
8 Ladon
9 Tineni (feat. Toumani Diabate)
10 Falani
11 Moustapha
12 Senufo Hunter (feat. Dramane Ze Konate)

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