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MALI DRUMS: OLD MASTERS
Featuring Aruna Sidibe and Brulye Doumbia
Recorded and produced by Michael Pluznick
Audio CD (.m4a Download): 59 minutes - 10 tracks
The music for this CD was recorded at the local community center outside Sabalibougou. 'Bougou' means 'Village', although it is located in a city district inside a bustling marketplace outside Bamako, Mali.
The community center houses local dancers, drummers and musicians, most of whom play in the center's award-winning group. Many famous district groups from outside the city - and deep in the countryside - also pass through the center. This is how we were able to find some of the other groups and music we recorded as well.
The music for this album is traditional, "old school" Bambara-based djembe music. These arrangements were put together by master drummer Aruna Sidibe. He plays and is joined by his students and other musicians. The style is noticeably different than the one played by younger drummers or the "young gun" arrangements, the style currently favored in Bamako, for example.
The CD was made using a high-quality flash recorder and excellent microphones. It's surprisingly clear and concise, as are the arrangements, playing styles and techniques.
It is my goal to help, in a small way, to preserve the musical culture and heritage through the music my teachers, friends and I are presenting. This being a labor of love, so to speak, any profits made from these recordings go directly to the musicians.
ABOUT THE RHYTHMS:
JAGWA WARA - This rhythm gets it's name from the masks that are used for the dance. It is traditionally played to celebrate the end of the harverst. In Bamako it is a social rhythm played during major holidays.
SOGO NI KUN Mask Dance - The Soko Ni Kun is a men's dance learned from childhood. The villain mask. People are afraid of the Suku Ni Kun. If you are dancing the Soko Ni Kun, and your father is present and you fall, you can die. If he is not present and you fall you will not die.
N'GRI - When the oldest person in the village dies this rhythm is played until the person is buried. In Bamako this rhythm is known as Wasalonka.
GOMBA - This rhythm is played during big festivals. This is a young person's dance. It is similar to Dununmba in that it is a strong man's dance.
SOLI- Soli is a circumcision dance. This rhythm is played all night before the actual circumcision/ excism in the morning.
CUOMO FOLI- This is a mask dance. If you have a problem and you give kola nuts to the Cuomo he will fix your problem. For example, if you are looking for something that has been stolen, you can go to the Cuomo and he will be able to find it. Even if it's been buried in the ground. The Cuomo appears with this mask only two or three times a year. When the masked Cuomo appears at night, all the women and children go in the house and hide. If you have not been initiated into the secrets of the Cuomo, or have not been given the proper protection, you can die from looking at the Cuomo on these nights.
DUNUMNA- Dunumba is a Strong man's dance from Guinea.
MADAN - This is a harvest rhythm. After the rain has stopped, and the millet has been harvested, young people from all the neighboring villages get together to celebrate. Young men invite their girlfriends and make a kind of dance competition to see who the strongest and most beautiful dancer is.
BAMANA FOLI - After the rain begins people get together to till the fields before planting. Neighbors help each other and gather together to work. Drummers come to play while the people work to keep them in rhythm. The music makes their work easier.