September 17, 2006

West African Music

Today, I heard a song called Amy (hear a 1 minute excerpt here from a previous release) by Kante Manfila, a Guinean born guitarist from Mali, on Andy Kershaw's program on BBC Radio (song was on the Sep 10th playlist.. the link is updated every week and so after next week, you will not see the list I heard today.)

The reason to highlight the song is not because I love music from Africa (read my post about Farka Toure's guitar playing) but because the song is part of a new release, 'Various: West Africa Unwired', which is part of the Think Global label from the World Music Network ..

..that combines the ideals of reducing poverty, defending human rights and protecting the environment with superb collections of cutting edge music from around the world. In partnership with Amnesty International and Oxfam, all Think Global releases will use a novel type of packaging – using only 100% recycled card with no plastic tray or plastic jewel case.

For information on music from West Africa, see the following wikipedia links for music from Benin - Burkina Faso - Chad - Côte d'Ivoire - Gambia - Ghana - Guinea - Guinea-BissauLiberia - Mali - Mauritania - Niger - Nigeria - Senegal - Sierra Leone - Togo and Western Sahara.

You can also read, "West Africa's Musical Powerhouse" by Lucy Duran, in Rough Guide to World Music Volume One (Simon Broughton, Mark Ellingham, James McConnachie, James and Orla Duane (Ed.), pp 539-562, 2000.)

Also see this great video - Gobissa and Child, See the Rider by Markus James.
Enlisting the brilliant support of Hassi Sare (njarka violin, vocals), Solo Sidibe (kamele n'goni, vocals), and Hamma Sankare (calabash, vocals), James creates a beautiful music video about the contrast of life in the dessert and life speeding up in the modern world and how life could be over at anytime. The music video was filmed in the sand dunes and villages in and around Timbuktu, Mali.

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