Gotta let everyone know about sahelsounds.com , a great source of info. and music from the Sahel region of West Africa. Lots of cool stuff and intelligent observations but the post on cellphone music was what caught my interest most of all:
This little cassette of music collected from cellphones has been in internet circulation lately (update — and the Guardian UK). Pitchfork did a nice write-up on the phenomena of “musical scarcity”, Rupture at Mudd Up! has given it some blog/radio play, and Portland’s ownGulls put together this remix of one of the tracks:
Niger Autotune (Emsitka) — Gulls Edit
(for the rest…)
Working on a couple of posts but still too busy to put much time into it. In the meantime, here’s a repost of a Jon Pareles piece (N.Y. Times) on how Bassekou Kouyati has revolutionized the use of the ngnoi but first here’s a YouTube video of Kouyati with another “revolutionary” who has taken the banjo into new territory (in this case, you could call it a post-modern encounter with an ancestor).
By JON PARELES
Published: July 26, 2010
Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times: Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba Mr. Kouyate with the ngoni, a traditional lute from Mali that dates back hundreds of years, performed with his band at SummerStage in Central Park on Sunday.
There were no Western instruments onstage when the Malian griot Bassekou Kouyate and his band, Ngoni Ba
, performed at SummerStage in Central Park on Sunday afternoon. Ngoni Ba is a string band — four sizes of ngoni, a four-stringed African lute that’s an ancestor of the banjo — with Mr. Kouyate’s wife, Amy Sacko, as lead singer, along with two percussionists playing calabashes and tama, a West African pressure drum. The band wore African clothes, and the songs were in Bambara, Mali’s main language. One, a meditative 17th-century praise song that Ms. Sacko sang in expanding arabesques, delved into 2,000-year-old Malian history.
But this was no traditional African concert. Through technique, technology and open ears, Mr. Kouyate hurls the ngoni into the 21st century. After performing in groups with notable Malian musicians like Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté, Mr. Kouyate has taken an instrument traditionally used to accompany a singer, pushed it into the foreground and multiplied it into an ensemble.
The bass and tenor-register ngonis in Ngoni Ba, founded in 2005, were invented by Mr. Kouyate, and they bring extra layers of counterpoint to what was already intricate, quick-fingered music. Traditional musicians play the ngoni in their laps while seated; (to read more…)