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.