Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Mystery

The cassette Wika Ô Ma (ALPHA 003, 1992), by N'Gosséré Ballo, is the kind of down-home traditional music that is found throughout Africa, but seldom gets much attention outside of it. I don't know anything about Ms. Ballo. Wika Ô Ma was recorded in Abidjan and released on Alpha Blondy's label, so I'm assuming she's from Ivory Coast, but maybe not. The title track was featured on a 1995 compilation entitled Coleur Mandingue, so I'd guess she is a member of one of the many Mandé ethnic groups descended from the old Mali Empire who live throughout West Africa (see map below).

Can anyone out there tell us more about this wonderful artist? Not just her lovely voice but the percussion and backing vocals on this recording are all first-rate. What a shame this is apparently N'Gosséré Ballo's only release!

N'Gosséré Ballo - Wika Ô Ma

Download Wika Ô Ma as a zipped file here


Issa said...

Thanks a lot for your great work on this blog! I'm discovering this artist (N'Gosseré Ballo) and I am a Mandingo speaker from Mali. I am sure that she is singing in Dioula (Mandingo from Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso) and must be Ivorian.

John B. said...

Thanks, Issa!

Anonymous said...

Very nice! Well recorded, with Ballo recorded really forward. This will make great travel music. Thanks, John!

Anonymous said...

Thanks John, the music is still a mystery, although she sings in Dioula, the style is not from the Mandinga zone, rather from the jungle area, and the surname is an adaptation of the name Peul 'Bah', transformed into Ballo.

Coleur Mandingue is a re-edited compilation of the cassette, and has an erroneous song which I've been searching "Solomani Sidibé -Mali moussou" from his first cassette that I've been searching for some time.