Skip to main content

CD Release & Free MP3: Andra Kouyaté and Sèkè Chi's 'Saro' (Studio Mali - July 31, 2012)

From a media release:

CD Release: Saro (Studio Mali; July 31, 2012)
Traditional Inventiveness: Andra Kouyaté and Sèkè Chi Reveal the Innovative Spirit and Polyglot Funk in Mali’s Deepest Roots

Download Aye Anfle from the CD free


In some musically vibrant corners of the world, innovation is the tradition.

So it is in Mali, where the sounds of the Saharan north have mingled with an array of West African traditions in the south. Musicians like Andra Kouyaté show how his homeland’s deep and diverse roots are a constant source of innovative inspiration.

The young scion of a profoundly respected griot family, Kouyaté has invented instruments, transformed Malian standards into fresh new pieces, and taken a contemporary ear to traditional sounds, incorporating pop and reggae with the effortless aplomb that has put Mali on the world’s musical map.

On his first major international release, Andra and his youthful ensemble Sèkè Chi bring a wide-ranging, aesthetically linked set of songs on Saro (Studio Mali; July 31, 2012). Saro features contributions by Amadou and Mariam; by wife and local star Mah Bara Soumano; by older brother Bassekou Kouyaté; by respected Malian singer Ami Sacko; by Harouna Samake the kamele n’goni player for Salif Keita; and by balafon whiz Lassana Diabaté of the Grammy-winning project AfroCubism. The album reveals Andra’s stunning ability to embrace not only all the musical possibilities of Mali’s many traditions, but also a relentless drive to create and re-imagine the music he loves.

“I am always searching and listening and trying to understand more music. If I only played traditional music in the same way, it would simply be too limiting for me. I want to expand. It’s what I was meant to do.”

Kouyaté’s life may seem to straddle two worlds, but in Mali, in his circle of hereditary musicians and oral historians (jeli or griots), it’s all part of one all-embracing creative effort. From a long-standing, very prominent family of griots, Kouyaté has followed in the footsteps of his forbearers (the meaning of the group’s name, Sèkè Chi). Andra performs a beloved cannon of traditional songs and pieces at weddings, social events, and other major secular and religious celebrations in his community.



Andra’s central role in this community is woven throughout his songs and music. “In ‘Lagaré,’ for example, I mention other griots, and I praise them and acknowledge their significance in our culture, in life in general. I thank them for what they do in life and in society,” Kouyaté explains. “The role of the griot is to bring back to life things that are broken between people, between family members, villages, even countries. And to resolve conflicts.”

And like griots before him, he has kept his musical work all in the family. To build Sèkè Chi, he travelled back to one of his ancestral villages and recruited several young relatives to play with him. His wife, a well-loved griot in her own right, adds her nimble, passionate vocals to tracks like “Den Massa Lou.” Songs praise Andra’s father and his elder brother (“Bassekou”) and memorialize his young, bright brother who recently passed away tragically (“Saro”).

“I was born with music, and my life is music,” reflects Kouyaté. “This is what we do in my family. If I don’t make music, I am nothing.”

At the same time, Andra’s part in the long chain of tradition and family is marked by a restless, joyful creativity and innovation. He’s a master of incorporating new elements and sounds into songs he has heard and played his entire life, including the northern Malian sounds made famous by bands like Tinariwen and singers like Khaira Arby. Tracks like “Ya Baba” feature the kind of desert-blues string work that drives many Western music fans wild.

Andra has toured the world with Grammy-nominated global indie favorites, Bassekou Kouyaté and Ngoni Ba; spent almost a decade with Rokia Traore; and most recently has been playing and touring with African reggae legend Tiken Jah Fakoly.

Inventing a new version of the ngoni — the precursor to the banjo that can render lightning-fast melodies in skilled hands — Andra took a fresh approach to the traditional instrument, adding the bass sounds he missed to the mix by carefully modifying the n’goni until it achieved a deeper, richer resonance and found the new expressive quality he craved. A relentless rehearser, arranger, and stickler for detail, he thoughtfully incorporates subtle reggae vibes (“Saro,“ “Yereko”) or funk flourishes (“Aye Anflé”) to his deep roots.

“Music is something that has no borders. Music is something that speaks all languages. It has no limits and crosses all cultures,” notes Kouyaté “It’s all the blues, all jazz. It can be Malian, Ethiopian, anything. Everyone can understand it and play together.”

The band members are:
Baïny Diabaté, guitar
Mamadou Kouyaté, bass n'goni
Mouctar Kouyaté, calabash
Lassine Kouyaté, tamani
Andra Kouyaté, n'goni and voice.

Comments

What Else Is Hot This Week?

FACTORY presents World Premiere ACTS OF FAITH November 19 to 28 2020 - Free Livestream

 From a media release: World Premiere FACTORY presents  ACTS OF FAITH by David Yee Directed by Nina Lee Aquino Starring Natasha Mumba November 19 – 28, 2020 @ 7:30PM Streamed live for 6 performances Free of charge TORONTO (October 19, 2020) - To kick off its groundbreaking 2020/21 season, Factory presents the world premiere of acts of faith, by multi-award winning Asian Canadian playwright David Yee, directed by Nina Lee Aquino, and starring Natasha Mumba. Written specifically to be performed for a digital platform, acts of faith will stream live to audiences at home for six performances, November 19-28, 2020.  Thanks to the generous support of the TD Bank Group, admission is being offered entirely free of charge to audiences across the country and beyond. acts of faith tells a story about the power of faith, the inescapable persistence of our online identities, and the nature of truth in a digital age. The story follows Faith, a young woman who gets mistaken for a prophet. When a ques

Blues Single | Bushwick Blooze Band: Waiting (Independent / 20 October 2020)

Blues Single Bushwick Blooze Band: Waiting (Independent / 20 October 2020) Stream It From Your Fave Service Waiting is the latest in a string of singles released by Bushwick Blooze Band. The Brooklyn-based blues trio have been performing and recording the blues around the NYC area since 2018. Their first album "Cryin' for the L Train" was released in January 2019, and included covers of famous songs composed by their greatest influencers such as Little Richard, The Allman Brothers Band, Freddie King, and Eddie Vinson.  Bushwick Blooze Band is finishing up the production of their second album "Yes Dear" and unlike the previous cover record, this new album will be their first original contribution to the genres they love. Waiting is an upbeat blues track with a party kind of veneer over solid musicianship. What begins with a classic blues feel transforms into an extended psychadelic flavoured trip. Inventive guitar licks almost make you forget about the virtuosity

Experimental Solo Guitar | Dan Pitt: Monochrome (Independent / September 4 2020)

Experimental Solo Guitar Dan Pitt: Monochrome (Independent / September 4 2020) Buy it on Bandcamp Toronto guitarist and composer Dan Pitt explores new ground in Monochrome, a recent release. The compositions for solo guitar each take a different approach. Pitt's musical imagination is inventive. Ghosts is contemplative, criss-crossing the line between jazz and classical music, and in and out of tonality. It has an interestingly eerie effect. The piece contrasts with Attraction and its buzzy, erratic energy that bursts into spurts of lightening quick notes. He returns to a more conventional contemporary jazz idiom in The Sorrow - but one that ends with an intriguing twist on the form. Long Lake is a classic acoustic guitar track, folky and melodic. Ditto is a standout, a distinctly contemporary exploration of contrapuntal melodies that at times sounds like a murmur of voices. Which Way Is Up is another highlight of the release with its elegant approach to minimalism. Electronic effe

CD Release: TriBeCaStan's New Deli Breaks the Time/Space Continuum in New Deli (Feb 7)

From a media release: New Release from Little Known Government of TriBeCaStan : Capital New Deli Found to Have Irregular Time-Space Continuum EverGreene Music - February 7, 2012 TriBeCaStan: News Alert. This morning Aljazzeera reported that the questionable nation of TriBeCaStan ( www.tribecastan.tv ) has made scientific breakthroughs in time travel. The unrecognized republic of nomads has broken the code of the time/space continuum. And by broken we mean: it no longer works. Applying sonic techniques once only known to a small group of punk rock shamans, the nation's most prestigious scientific entity, the TriBeCaStani FolkLorkEstra, uses sound alone to simultaneously place listeners in eras separated by decades and terrains separated by oceans. The breakthrough is outlined in an auditory compendium titled New Deli (distributed by the state-run EverGreene Music, set for release February 7, 2012 ), a recording that allows the world to experience a type of soulful networking mor

Blaise La Bamba & Kotakoli November 7th 2020 Online - PWYC

 From a media release: Batuki Music Society and Alliance Francaise Toronto present A virtual concert featuring Blaise La Bamba & Kotakoli November 7th 2020 at 8:00 PM Enjoy the concert from home! K inshasa’s vibrant nightlife has long been world-famous. It is home to the subculture known informally as the Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People (SAPEUR), which has spread its influence through artists such as Papa Wemba. Blaise La Bamba is part of this scene. He has worked with some of the top names of Congolese music, in particular General Defao. I n 2018, Blaise La Bamba founded Kotakoli , an all-star collective of musicians that perform an energetic mix of Congolese rumba and soukous . In the company of Kotakoli, this veteran musician brings Congolese popular music back to the forefront, with spellbinding dances. The Details Date: Saturday November 7th, 2021  Blaise La Bamba and Kotakoli Virtual Concert Time: 8:00 PM Tickets: Pay what you can This concert is offered to you