Sunday, October 7, 2007

Mali Cassette Grab-Bag: Zani Diabate

Since I started this blog I've been trying to post at least twice a week. Lately I've been so caught up in other things (namely "real life") that I just realized that it's been a week since my last submission. While casting about for something to write about I remembered that about a year ago I digitized a whole bunch of Malian cassettes that were lying in the bottom of a cardboard box in my office. So . . . what could be easier than to just slap them up here for your perusal? I was originally going to post a big number of clips today, but I've decided to space them out over several days. Today, Zani Diabate's 1991 cassette release Ni Zani Mana.

Robert Christgau, formerly of the Village Voice, calls himself "The Dean of American Rock Critics." Uh, okay. He had this to say about Diabate's 1988 LP Zani Diabate & the Super Djata Band (Mango MLPS 9814):

. . . What jumps out of the speakers isn't the Malian Jimi of the jacket copy but a groove harsher than Zaire's and more ferocious than Senegal's. There's lots of cheesy keyb[oard] in the mix; full-repeat call-and-response and mullah harangues stir up the hectic mood. It's on top of all this that you get the guitar, which sings and declaims and shouts out loud instead of just chiming or chattering. I find the hottest soukous relaxing. I put this on to wake up.
Diabate was born in 1947 and served his apprenticeship with the National Ballet of Mali before starting his group Super Djata. Graeme Counsel's Discography of Malian Vinyl Recordings lists nine recordings by the group (Ni Zani Mana makes at least ten) but the only ones I've actually heard are Ni Zani Mana (Oubien Productions OU009) and the aforementioned Mango release. I'd place Ni Zani Mana more toward the "mellow" end of the scale, but it's every bit as exciting as Super Djata in its own way. Diabate's obviously been listening not only to his Hendrix but to Wes Montgomery and who knows what else, but he's a true original. It's unfortunate that he isn't better known. Enjoy!

Zani Diabate - Ni Zani Mana

Zani Diabate - Ha Kili Maya

Zani Diabate - Doussou

Zani Diabate - Boolon

Zani Diabate - Himi

Zani Diabate - Monaitheban

Coming up soon: Djeneba Seck, Mamadou Doumbia, and more!


Comb & Razor said...

yeah, keeping any kind of regular blogging schedule can be hard, but in the end i think quality of posts is probably more important than frequency... and you've definitely been maintaining a standard in that department!

this is amazing stuff! now i have to find a way to hunt down that Mango relase...

jon said...

Lovely guitar! He doesn't take long enough solos though. I bet he's amazing live. Reminds me a little of james Blood Ulmer in his more listenable moments. Definately some jazz guitar in there. Thanks and don't worry about the twice weekly thing, we're grateful for the pearls you scatter as it is.
What's the most wild, out there African guitar playing you know? It seems to me that African guitarists don't like to appear out of control. Bugged out, deranged axe mangling is off the menu? Or am I wrong here? Just a fun question coz I'd love to hear some.

Anonymous said...

Bugged out guitar...well you should hear Philip Tabane of Malombo then...

John B. said...

Yes, I've always thought this particular recording was reminiscent of Philip Tabane's work.

funkdoctor said...

fanstastic. i love this band. I heard a live album in africa but I have never even seen a copy of it . thank you

Anonymous said...

than you . i want hear more malian music . i appreciate your job

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting these mp3 files, it's a real joy to hear these hard to find songs.