world music / african music
When the Guinean Djeli Moussa Condé moved to Paris he set up home in Ménilmontant. In the heart of this working-class neighbourhood, the kora player dreamed up a world-style album with the help of percussionist, arranger and producer Vincent Lassalle.
The Malian twosome Amadou & Mariam are back with a new album, Folila. With its roots firmly planted in Mali, the collection takes added inspiration from some of the couple’s international alliances, and in particular Français Bertrand Cantat.
Music from Chad
One of the few Chadian artists to be making a name for herself on the international scene, singer Mounira Mitchala has paved the way for the next step with Chili Houritki, five years after winning the RFI Découvertes music award.
The singer from northern Mali, Khaira Arby, has a status on a level with Oumou Sangaré in her homeland. Despite a keen following in the United States, in France she remains largely unknown. Not for long though, since she is scheduled to perform at the Babel Med Festival in Marseille at the end of March.
More than twenty years after Mali’s artistic and cultural biennales hit the dust, we salute one of their most brilliant offspring: Super Biton de Ségou, decreed best band from 1970 to 1976. Still active, Super Biton continues to be the pride and joy of its hometown. RFI Musique met up with bandleader and eminent guitarist, Mama Cissoko.
Gathering 30,000 festival-goers over five days, the Festival sur le Niger, which has just run from 14 to 19 February, is a popular Malian event that places the town of Ségou on the country’s cultural map and puts the focus on local music.
Jonathan Ward is not your regular vinyl record collector. During the day he works as an archivist, but his real passion is collecting 78s of African traditional and folk music recorded in the first half of the 20th century. The four-CD compilation he’s just released, entitled Opika Pende, or “be strong” in Lingala, brings some incredible artists and fascinating musical forms back to life.
There are times when you need a helping hand to reach a new milestone. To put together his fourth album, Nimissa, Guinean singer and musician Ba Cissoko was assisted by reputed producer Philippe Eidel, who has managed to draw out each song’s potential and assure some ship-shape production.
Thirty years of hassle have done nothing to wear down the convictions of Congolese musician Jupiter as he prepares to bring out Hotel Univers – an album that rings like a coming of age. Portrait of an artist.
As well as playing with an array of Mali’s contemporary music-makers, Makan Badjé Tounkara has carved out a space to share his own stories, which he narrates under his name in a second album, Sodjan. His academic yet modern playing of the ngoni, the string instrument played at the royal court for centuries, leads him irresistibly into the land of the blues.