Mandinka (Manding, Mandingo) and also for their unique musical instrument, the kora. The kora is a The Great Mosque of Djenné is the largest mud brick or adobe The Hunters
Are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa with an estimated twenty-one string harp-like instrument made out of a gourd covered building in the world and is considered by many to be the greatest lie at the heart of Malian history and haveleft their mark over all
population of eleven million. They are the descendants of the Empire with cow skin. achievement of the Sudano-Sahelian architectural style. the civilizations of Mali: Bamanan, Mandinkav, Dogon, Peul, Sara-
of Mali, which rose to power under the rule of the great Mandinka kolé, Songhai and many others. Guardians of the animistic rites,
Music Project from Mali - Part 1+2
king Sundiata Keita. The Mandinka in turn belong to West Africa’s the hunters are by far the oldest traditional organization spared by
largest ethno-linguistic group, the Mandé.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvS9v4cmM7k&feature=related&pos=3 the sands of time; neither Islam nor Christianity have succeeded in
Originally from Mali, the Mandinka gained their independence http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iNaxNJM-bk&feature=related&pos=1 modifying their character.
from previous empires in the thirteenth century, and founded an http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEdKAuyGyTY&feature=related
empire which stretched across West Africa. They migrated west from
the Niger River in search of better agricultural lands and more op-
portunities for conquest.
During the 16th, 17th and 18th century as many as a third of
the Mandinka population were shipped to the Americas as slaves
through capture in conflict. A significant part of the African-Ameri-
cans in the United States are descended from the Mandinka people.
The Mandinka have a rich oral history that is passed down
through praise singers or griots. This passing down of oral history
through music has made music one of the most distinctive traits
of the Mandinka. They have long been known for their drumming
The Super Rail Band Salif Keita Mory Kanté Djelimady Tounkara Habib Koité
S alif Keita (born 1949) is an internationally recog-
nized afro-pop singer-songwriter. He is unique not only
he Rail Band is one of the most popular musi-
because of his reputation as the Golden Voice of Africa,
cal groups in the history of Malian music. The band but because he has albinism and is a direct descendant orn in 1958 to musical parents, from whom he
performed regularly at the Buffet Bar at the Station of the founder of the Mali Empire, Sundiata Keita. This learned instrumentation by watching and listening.
Hotel in Bamako, performing Manding music. The band royal heritage meant that under the Malian caste sys- He joined the Bamako National Institute of Arts and
performs traditional-style music, using kora and tem, he should never have become a singer, which was M ory Kanté (born 1950 in Guinea) is an acclaimed vo- became a conductor in 1978 after only six months of
balafon with Islamic-style vocals and elements of Latin deemed to be a griot’s role.Keita was born in the city calist and player of the kora harp. He was born into one One of the foremost guitarists in Africa. Djelimady playing. He graduated in 1982, and formed his band
music, in the Bambara language. of Djoliba. He was cast out by his family and ostracized of Guinea’s best known families of griot (hereditary) grew up surrounded with traditional music played by Bamada in 1988. The name “Bamada” is a nickname for
The Rail Band’s lead singer at its inception was Salif by the community because of his albinism, a sign of bad musicians. After being brought up in the Mandinka gri- members of his family. The Tounkaras are Griots, musi- residents of Mali’s capital city Bamako, and the word
Keita, and the group soon became a training ground luck in Mandinka culture. He left Djoliba for Bamako in ot tradition in Guinea, he was sent to Mali at the age of cians and historians by birth. Djelimady played djembe roughly translates as “In the mouth of the crocodile.
for many of Mali’s most popular performers, like 1967, where he joined the government sponsored Super seven years – where he learned to play the kora, as well drum and xalam, a banjo-like lute, as a boy. When he Koité is known primarily for his unique approach to
singer Mory Kanté and guitarist Kante Manfila. Guitar- Rail Band de Bamako. as important voice traditions, some of which are neces- moved to Mali’s capital, Bamako, during the 1960s, he playing the guitar by tuning it on a pentatonic scale
ist Djelimady Tounkara has been a member of the band sary to become a griot. In 1971 Kanté became a member had actually planned to work as a tailor. But music and playing on open strings as one would on a kamale
for most of its history. Yamore, with Cesaria Evora of the Rail Band, in which Salif Keïta was a singer. Keïta proved a stronger calling. He started playing guitar in n’goni. Other pieces of his music sound more like the
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFTw0c9ew3k left the band in 1973, leaving Kanté as the singer. a large, government-sponsored neighborhood band, blues or flamenco
Marigoundo Kanté is best known internationally for his 1987 hit Orchestre Misira. Voted the best guitarist in the band,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Egy1VwRE1Fc Wassolon Foli, with Les Ambassadeurs song “Yé ké yé ké”, which was one of Africa’s best-ever Djelimady was selected to join the Orchestre National Wassiye
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6OBEtmWvHQ&feature=related&pos=3 selling hits as well as being a European Number One in as rhythm guitarist, a great honor for the young player. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4VRGALZdBA&feature=related
Mansa 1988 making it the first ever African single to sell over Tounkara became lead guitarist with the Rail
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix-PJ16NDKM&feature=related Folon one million copies. Band, one of the most popular musical groups in the Africa
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAZF_uKqxtQ&feature=related&pos=16 history of Malian music, through a quarter century of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbIJhuEcRE8&feature=related
@ Mondomix Yé ké yé ké, with Santana colorful history and constant change.
http://mp3.mondomix.com/super_rail_band Nyanafin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru0XZ_4cNGs&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKXyhDFlTxk&feature=related&pos=4 Fanta Bourama http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ43JGm48Lg&feature=related
I Ka Barra
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1pqUKWfFl4&feature=related @ Mondomix http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCVzf9fnvD8&feature=related
@ My Space http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnIK3caxdH8&feature=related
@ My Space
Bamako MO DJ 21 string Kora (harp)
The area of the city has been continuously inhabited since the http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvd0imNxqhw&feature=related
Palaeolithic, but the founding of city occurred in the seventeenth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1IM8B076Bk&feature=related
century. With a population of 1,690,471, is the capital and largest
city of Mali, and currently estimated to be the fastest growing city Dee Dee Bridgewater
in Africa (6th fastest in the world). It is located on the Niger River, Balafon (marimba)
near the rapids that divide the Upper and Middle Niger Valleys, in
the southwestern part of the country. Bamako is the nation’s ad- 7F4&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=26
ministrative center, with a river port located in nearby Koulikoro,
and a major regional trade and conference center. Bamako is the
7th largest West African urban center after Lagos, Abidjan, Kano, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY8sUYnP2JA&feature=PlayList&p=D266722776AD
Ibadan, Dakar and Accra.
Toumani Diabate Mamadou Diabate Oumou Sangare Amadou & Mariam Boubacar Traoré, “Kar Kar”
K ora player who has gained international acclaim for A madou & Mariam are a musical duo from Mali. The
his music. Diabaté comes from a long family tradition Wassoulou musician, a historic region south of the pair, known as “the blind couple from Mali” has made a
of kora players. His family’s oral tradition tells of seventy Niger River, and the music there is descended from name for themselves playing Malian blues. In 1986 the Renowned singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Traoré also
one generations of musicians preceding him in a patri- traditional hunting songs. Oumou Sangaré is consid- couple moved to the Côte d’Ivoire and recorded several goes by the nickname Kar Kar, “the one who dribbles too
lineal line. ered an ambassador of Wassoulou; her music has been albums and eventually the album Sou Ni Tile in Paris, much” in Bambara, a reference to his soccer playing.
He has collaborated with flamenco group Ketama, inspired by the music and traditional dances of the which became a hit in France. The duo has playing at Traoré first became superstar in Mali and a symbol
with the American blues musician Taj Mahal, with the region. She writes and composes her songs, which force- and recorded with international stars and festivals of the newly independent country in the early 1960s.
American jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd. He also col- H e was born into a family of griots. At 16 he went to fully support social criticism, especially concerning the around the world. He had taught himself to play guitar and developed a
laborated with the Icelandic popular musician Björk. Bamako to study the kora with his cousin, the musician place of women and their low position in society. unique style that blended American Blues music, Arab
The Symmetric Orchestra led by Toumani Diabaté is Toumani Diabaté. Since his move to the U.S. in 1996, Sénégal Fast Food, with Manu Chao music, and pentatonic structures found in the Mande
composed of mostly griots musicians from the across Diabaté has performed with several musicians from Wayeina http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3kO-QKA334&feature=related&pos=7 cultural region. Traoré has enjoyed international popu-
the old Mande Empire, who play a mix of traditional the country, including jazz players Randy Weston and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3nSHpD4XWI&feature=related larity, touring Europe, Africa, and North America.
instruments including the kora, djembe, balafon and Donald Byrd, as well as with a griot ensemble composed Sabali He was the subject of the 2001 film Je chanterai pour
bolombatto, as well as modern ones. of musicians from Mali and the United States. In 2005, Djama Kaissoumou http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv8BykeJf6c&feature=fvw&pos=0 toi (“I’ll Sing For You”), released in 2005.
Diabaté was nominated for a Grammy Award, but lost http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY8jvIffnZc&feature=related
Cantelowes to his cousin, Toumani. M’bifé Santa Mariya
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DEKQjj6Ga0&feature=related Yala http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgafofMfBFM&feature=related&pos=3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq-ZhaPjYjA&feature=related&pos=0
Jarabi, with Ketama &playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=8 @ My Space Grassroots Festival 2001
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q3fHnKKems&feature=related with Alicia Keyes http://www.myspace.com/amadouandmariam http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwSZM1QT1yU&feature=related&pos=3
@ My Space http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYrwJstW5GQ&feature=channel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDoJmN_A9GU&feature=related&pos=6
@ My Space http://www.myspace.com/mamadoudiabate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNfuhfQaRC8&feature=related&pos=2
http://www.myspace.com/toumanidiabate @ My Space http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7bQ7VLC2xQ&feature=related&pos=3
@ My Space
Dogon Dogon Tuareg
Dogon country Tombouctou
Festival of the Desert - Part 1 & 2 http://www.dogon-lobi.ch/dogonalbum.htm
Ali Farka Touré Vieux Farka Touré Bassekou Kouyate Tinariwen Haira Arby
N ick named the ‘The Nightingale of the North”. She is
Tinariwen Means “empty places”, is a band formed in
from the desert around Agouni, north of Timbuktu born
Touré is the son of Malian musician Ali Farka Touré. into a family of mixed ethnicity a Songhai mother and
Vieux’s debut self-titled solo album, released online 1982 of Tuareg people who had been conscripted into an Berber father.
in fall 2006 and in retail worldwide February 2007, Muammar al-Gaddafi’s army. They play in the “music of
Singer and guitarist, and one of the Africa’s most features Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté on several the unemployed” style, and sing mostly in the French
and Tamashek languages. Their songs mostly cover
internationally renowned musicians. His music is tracks. It has been acclaimed by critics worldwide; Vieux
Taj Mahal describes him as a genius, a living proof
widely regarded as representing a point of intersection has proven in his energetic live shows that he is the heir the subject of independence for their people from the
of traditional Malian music and its North American to Ali’s talent, although he has affirmed his own style. government of Mali. They are said to be the first Tuareg
that the blues comes from the region of Segu. Bassekou
cousin, the blues. The belief that the latter is historically band to use electric guitars.
Kouyate is one of Mali’s best-known Ngoni players.
derived from the former is reflected in Martin Scorsese’s Bamako jam He has collaborated with many important traditional
often quoted characterization of Touré’s tradition as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2x4M-L4WzY&feature=channel musicians of his country as well as international such
constituting “the DNA of the blues”. Touré was ranked as Carlos Santana, U2 among many many others. Most
number 76 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 100 Greatest Bullet the Blue Sky recently he is featured on Ali Farkas posthumous album
Guitarists of All Time”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I7P5e3GP0I&feature=channel ‘Savane’ and toured with him leaving a lasting impres-
As the first African bluesman to achieve widespread sion on the audience as the bands solo ngoni player.
popularity on his home continent, Touré was often @ My Space
@ My Space
known as “the African John Lee Hooker”. Musically, the http://www.myspace.com/vieuxfarkatoure Ngoni Fola
many superpositions of guitars and rhythms in his http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rDQYImnzwU&feature=related
music were similar to John Lee Hooker’s hypnotic blues
style. He usually sang in one of several African languag- Segou to London http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xggIl_
es, mostly Songhay, Fulfulde, Tamasheq or Bambara. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcqPgLXaT68&feature=related
Machengoidi @ My Space
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l5KZVte6iY&feature=related&pos=1 Tuareg saddel
A griot or jeli Traditional donso ngoni James Leva & Cheick Hamala Diabate
The heritage of the griot is a West African poet, praise singer, and wandering musician, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQMFN-whbEU&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVMUKSz9aK8
considered a repository of oral tradition. The Jeli in Mande society Jeli Ngoni (banjo)
was as a historian, advisor, arbitrator, praise singer (patronage), and
storyteller. Essentially, these musicians were walking history books, The ngoni (xalam ) is a string instrument originating in West
preserving their ancient stories and traditions through song. Their in- Africa. Its body is made of wood or calabash with dried animal
herited tradition was passed down through generations. They were (often goat) skin stretched over it like a drum. In the hands of a
said to have deep connections to spiritual, social, or political powers skilled ngoni instrumentalist, the ngoni can produce fast rapid
as music is associated as such. Speech is also said to have power as it melodies. It appears to be closely related to the akonting and the
can recreate history and relationships. xalam and this instrument family some believe to be the ancestor
Griots form an endogamous caste, meaning that most of them of the American banjo.
only marry fellow griots and that those who are not griots do not
normally perform the same functions that they perform.
Today they live in many parts of West Africa, including Mali,
the Gambia, Guinea, Western Sahara and Senegal, and are present
among the Mande peoples (Mandinka, Malinké, Bambara, etc.), Fule
(Fula), Hausa, Songhai, Tukulóor, Wolof, Serer, Mossi, Dagomba, Mauri- Donso Ngoni
tanian Arabs and many other smaller groups. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thknvMXzNkM&feature=related
Nabintou Diakité Issa Bagayogo Adama Yalomba Neba Solo Afel Bocoum
Souleymane Traoré is the stage name
In 2003, the western audience discovers an amazing re- who plays a kind of balafon, (marimba).of Neba Solo
cord that will reach directly the best seller positions in
N’ Nalena to reggae music as a teenager, Traoré decided to experi-
American charts for world music. What must be said is
that Festival Au Desert 2003 compounded all the great-
ment with his balafon’s design, adding three extra bass B orn 1955, Bocoum is noted as a singer and guitarist.
keys to the instrument. In his group’s current form, He began his career in 1968, at the age of thirteen as a
est and famous names of Malian Music, showed in all
Souleymane plays his specially adapted bass balafon member of Ali Farka Toure’s group ASCO, and Toure is
its diversity (Ali Farka Touré, Tinariwen, Oumou Sangare,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lEi_WFQ4fA&feature=related orn in 1961, Issa Bagayogo is a skilled player of the while Siaka plays the upper-register “lead” form of the often regarded as his mentor. Both men come from the
Tartit, Afel Bocoum…), with some additional notorious
kamele n’goni, a traditional lute-like instrument. instrument. Lyrics are sung in Traoré’s native Senoufo town of Niafunke on the River Niger, and are members
guests as Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin).
An Dia Bagayogo deftly melds Malian instruments and song language as well as in Bambara, Mali’s most widely of the Sonrai people. Bocoum is an agricultural advisor
structures (long, repeated musical phrases over which spoken language. by profession.
singers and players improvise and choruses chant—the In the summer of 2003, Neba Solo was part of Mali’s
best-known performer of this music is Ali Farka Touré)
delegation to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, one of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQM16uXzi4M
with dub, trance, and electronic elements. He does so a small number of musical artists to be so honored.
effectively that, as with his debut album Sya (1999), the
He has collaborated with artists from Mali as well as Jaman Moro
result feels like a fully-integrated merger of the two tra-
around the world, including French electronic musi- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9CbFHK1y4k&feature=related
ditions rather than the shotgun marriage that “world cal artist Frédéric Galliano and the Iranian percussion
music” can sometimes seem like.
group Trio Chemirani. Neba Solo has toured in Europe Ali Farka [a tribute]
and North America in addition to Africa. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGmAfb-2Egg&feature=related
@ My Space
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxIy9l7h_vg&feature=related Musow @MOG
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB7Oj8A3Dto&feature=related&pos=6 in Sikasso
@ My Space