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5.0 out of 5 stars High-speed Super Rail from Bamako, 24 Mar. 2013
The Guardian (UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mansa (Audio CD)
The fabulous SRB started life in the 1970s as band-in-residence at the Hotel-de-la-Garre in Bamako, initially sponsored by the Ministry of Information of the Government of Mali. Many careers were launched by this band, the most notable being that of Salif Keita who initially sang at the back of the stage with his head covered by a towel, such was the perceived disgrace of someone from the Royal household lowering himself to sing in front of an audience!

This 1996 release was the 9th collection from SRB, an ensemble of no fewer than 11 musicians and singers led by the outstanding guitar work of Djelimady Tounkara. Two of the Keita family clan feature on this album - Fortigui on bass, and Kabine plays saxophone - and 4 French `musiciens additionelles' are also featured, mainly horn players who beef-out the sound on some numbers.

SRB were the first to combine Cuban dance music from the 1960s (which entered Mali via the Congo) with jazz, and blend the concoction with the traditional Malian Griot praise-singer tradition, Bambara and other West African styles. The resulting brew is intoxicating, and just makes you want to get up and dance.

Most of the songs are sung either in French or Bambara, some in other dialects of Northern Mali. If you like the best music from Mali in recent years - i.e. that of Salif Keita, or Amadou & Mariam - then you're going to love this.
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Mansa by Super Rail Band De Bamako (Audio CD - 1996)
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