Playlist : new African Music (Mar 2012)

March 31 2012

This is all new stuff that’s been released since I published my last playlist 18 months ago. The reason for coming back to the traditional African music theme is quite simply that you are not likely to stumble across very much of this material on your usual music sites. There are all too few periodicals or blogs which publish even occasional reviews of music by African artists, and I’ve searched in vain for African-specific sites which keep you regularly informed about new releases of interest to fans of world music.

Once again the country best represented on this list is Mali, which as I write is in crisis. The military junta which siezed power this month is struggling to survive in the face of international pressure and Tuareg insurgency. My thoughts go out to the people.

Proceeding more or less in chronological order :

Mamadou Diabaté – Yaka yaka (Courage, Feb 2011 on World Village)
Brilliant kora player from Mali

Amine Mraihi & Hamza Mraihi (feat Boston String Quartet) – Mani Nessi (Perpetual Motion, March 2011 on Network)
Two brothers from Tunisia, masters of the oud and the kanun

Bombino – Tar Hani (My love) (Agadez, April 2011 on Cumbancha)
Omara “Bombino” Moctar is a real child of the desert, a Muslim Tuareg from Niger

Tamikrest – Nak Amadjar Nidounia (Toumastin, April 2011 on Glitterhouse)
Another Tuareg band, this time from northern Mali

Sura Susso – Sila Kang (Sila Kang, June 2011 on Kuli Marow Music)
Debut album from a young Gambian kora player based in Nottingham, UK

Leonard Zhakata – Dambura Mbabvu (Gotwe, released July 2011 in Zimbabwe)
The desperate situation inside his home country has severely restricted distribution and sales of the new album

Samba Touré – Dani Du (Crocodile Blues, August 2011 on Riverboat Records)
From Mali, a protegé of the great Ali Farka Touré

Fatoumata Diawara – Alama (Fatou, Sept 2011 on World Circuit)
The best album to emerge from the continent in the last 12 months.

Ablaye Ndiaye Thiossane – Siket (Ablaye Thiossane, Oct 11 on Discograph)
Debut album from the veteran Senegalese singer now in his mid 70s

Baloji – Le Jour D’Après / Siku Ya Baadaye (Kinshasa Succursale, Nov 2011 on Crammed Discs)
Though raised in Belgium Baloji is making his name with music that celebrates his Congolese roots

Olima Anditi – Apoli (Raw Music International: Kisumu, Kenya, Nov 2011)
“Olima is an 83 year old blind Luo blues guitarist. We recorded this song at his home on December 31, 2010. He sings in memory of a deceased lover.”

Lewlewal de Podor – Jaanfa (Yiilo Jaam, December 2011 on Sahelsounds / Mississippi Little Axe)
Respect to Sahelsounds for recording this band from northern Senegal

Tcheka – Tchoro Na Morte (Dor de Mar, Dec 2011 on Harmonia)
Wonderful album which should surely win a few awards and help keep Cape Verde music on the map

Ba Cissoko – Nimissa (Nimissa, Jan 2012 on Cristal Records)
Band from Guinea which features a couple of kora players

Amadou Diagne – Yaro (Introducing Amadou Diagne, Feb 2012 on World Music Network)
Senegalese griot who sings mainly in Wolof

Emel Mathlouthi – Kelmti Horra (Kelmti Horra, Feb 2012 on World Village)
The song, a mix of the modern and traditional, Kelmti Horra (my word is free) was taken up by the Arab Spring revolutionaries and sung on the streets of Tunis. “This album tells the story of my Tunisia, the story of the dark years as seen through my eyes:— through my experience as a student, a young rebel and dissenter, through my years of artistic and ideological struggle, and through my immigrant tears, my suffering and my love of freedom. I dedicate this album to all those who gave their lives so that one day Tunisia might be free. The road is long but every day … a new sun rises and new hopes emerge … and we are these hopes.”

The Touré-Raichel Collective – Bamba (The Tel Aviv Session, March 2012 on Cumbancha)
Cross cultural project, featuring Idan Raichel (Israel), Vieux Farka Toure (Mali), Souleymane Kane (Mali), and Yossi Fine (Israel)

Amadou & Mariam – Oh Amadou (Folila, March 2012 on Because Music)
The blind couple from Mali’s follow up to the Grammy nominated Welcome To Mali

Sidi Touré – Ni See Ay Ga done (Koïma, out on 16 April 2012 on Thrill Jockey)
After a US tour in 2011 the Malian singer signed up to Stateside label Thrill Jockey with whose help he’s put together this album and this video

Ebo Taylor – Yaa Amponsah (Appia Kwa Bridge, out on 16 April 2012 on Strut)
Ghanaian highlife guitar legend

Diabel Cissokho – Allah Lako (Kanabory Siyama, out on 16 April 2012 on World Village)
Senegalese griot and experienced kora player who’s played with Baaba Maal, Kandia Kouyaté and many others

Batida – Tirei o Chapéu (Batida, out very soon on Soundway)
Batida is Angolan / Portuguese DJ Mpula aka Pedro Coquenão. His debut album mixes samples from old 1970s Angolan tracks with electronic dance music.



  1. what of ugandas jose chameleoan

  2. Good day i love page,we also have a music blog web page callled umpamusic please do check it out @ http://www.umpamusic.co.za and please send feed back to dee@umpamusic.co.za

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