Mali’s Mamadou Kelly Sticks to Classic Sahelian Sound

Posted February 14th, 2014 at 8:40 pm (UTC+0)
2 comments

Mamadou Kelly was a name I hadn’t heard of before, but his new CD was compelling. The music in Adibar, released in 2013 by Clermont Music, made me stop everything I was doing at the time and just listen. There are no bells and whistles to this music; no novelty, no modern twist. Kelly’s sound is classic Malian Sahel. He sings in Songhai (his native tongue), Bambara, and Fulfulde. His calabash player is one of Ali Farka Touré‘s original band members.

In this interview from September 29th 2013, Kelly and his band Bancaina perform three songs “Adibar,” “Sehenon Men,” and “Nansongo.” The interview is in Bambara with English subtitles. In  between songs, they introduce each instrument: the bara, jurukelenin, juru belebeleba, and guitar. Mamadou also talks about the meaning of each tune, the situation in northern Mali as it was during the time of the interview, and his hopes to record songs in every Malian language one day.

 

I translated the interview from Bambara to English. Thanks also go to Kadiatou Traoré from the Bambara Service of the Voice of America.

Heather Maxwell
Heather Maxwell produces and hosts the award winning radio program "Music Time in Africa" and is the Africa Music Director for the Voice of America. Heather is an ethnomusicologist with Doctorate and Master's degrees from Indiana University specializing in African Music. She is also an accomplished jazz and Afrojazz/Afrosoul vocalist and has been working, researching, and performing in Africa and the U.S. since 1987.

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Heather Maxwell produces and hosts the award-winning radio program “Music Time in Africa” and is the Africa Music Director for the Voice of America. Heather is an ethnomusicologist with Doctorate and Master’s degrees from Indiana University specializing in African Music. She is also an accomplished jazz and Afrojazz/Afrosoul vocalist and has been working, researching, and performing in Africa and the U.S. since 1987

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