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Segu Blue

5.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (26 Mar. 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Out/Here
  • ASIN: B000LSA8HG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,440 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

SEGU BLUE is the first solo album by Malian ngoni player Bassekou Kouyate. Bassekou is one of the true masters of the ngoni, an ancient traditional lute found throughout West Africa, and he has collaborated with many musicians in and outside of Mali: He played in the Symmetric trio alongside Toumani Diabate (kora) and Keletigui Diabate (balafon). He was part of Taj Mahal's and Toumani Diabate's 'Kulanjan' project, as well as being one of the key musicians on Ali Farka Toure's posthumous album 'Savane'. Bassekou also toured with Ali Farka Toure on his last series of European concerts leaving a lasting impression on the audience as the band's solo/lead ngoni player. He was also recently featured in an extensive piece in The Independent (13/10/06) which documented Damon Albarn's trip to Mali last year. The album features guest musicians Kasse Mady Diabate, Lobi Traore, Lassana Diabate, and singers Zoumana Tereta and Ami Sacko.

BBC Review

Segu Blue is a highly accomplished album from Malian ngoni player Bassekou Kouyate. The ngoni is an ancient traditional lute found throughout West Africa and Kouyate appears to be the musician who will introduce it to Western audiences in much the same way his friend (and occasional employer) Toumani Diabate has made the kora internationally popular.

Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba approach music making in a beautifully relaxed manner, letting notes drift out, one ngoni dancing across another, weaving subtle patterns of strings, while male and female voices echo one another and then merge at choruses. Across 14 bright, melodic tracks Kouyate and co. tell the story of one of the last pre-colonial Malian empires: the Bambara empire of Segou founded by Bitòn Mamary Coulibaly in 1712. The CD booklet comes with much information on pre-colonial Malian life.

Segu Blue is brilliantly produced by the BBC Radio 3 World Routes presenter, Lucy Duran, who does the right thing by simply setting the microphones close and encouraging the musicians to give their best: Segu Blue is traditional West African music at its most natural. Indeed, the best tracks here - dramatic opener ''Tabali Te'' and instrumental ''The River Tune'' - involve some of the most exquisite African music making of recent times. On ''Lament For Ali Farka'' the ensemble conjure up a moody hymn for the late, great guitarist. One can't help but feel that Farka's spirit continues to live on Segu Blue. --Garth Cartwright

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Format: Audio CD
This album provides over an hour of high-quality African music which would be a good way in for someone wanting to hear some traditionally-flavoured African music, or for those like me building a collection of the increasingly excellent stuff coming out of Africa these days.

The album centres on the ngoni, a four-stringed banjo/guitar type instrument, which originated in one particular part of Africa.

The tracks are a mixture of slower and more upbeat tempos, and the musicians use a variety of vocalists on the album, including some excellent female vocalists, but whether the tracks are instrumental or full songs, each one is an experience.
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Format: Audio CD
I was fortunate enough to see Bassekou and his Ngoni Ba live and I spent the entire concert with a big grin on my face (I couldn't help it). The exuberance, style and sheer fun of them playing together also comes across on the album. If,like me, you don't know much about African music but want a great place to start you may just have found it. The problem will be finding something as good to follow it
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Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD on the day of release thanks to a fantastic review I read in the Observer Music Monthly magazine a few months before (it's so unfair that these critics get their promos so early - not so much a review as simply just showing off!).

I have bought many Malian music recordings prior to this one and have to say that this is the jewel in the crown and the icing on the proverbial cake! The malian diva Oumou Sangare often used these Ngoni instruments in the background to her songs and it's really refreshing to hear that the Ngoni has now taken centre stage at last.

The highlights on this recording has to be "Jonkoloni" or the title track at the end ("Segu Blue"). Jonkoloni is a fast-ish skit like song with intricate polyrhythmic looped riffing from the Ngoni of varying sizes - listen out for the largest, lowest sounding one and hear how the player seems to be in a world of his own. The rhythms he plays doesn't seem to adhere to that of the rest of the group - comparable almost to Steve Reich!

The last track Segu Blue pays hommage to the link between Mailian music and it's offspring, the Blues. It's an instrumental tune with some great improvising in it with an obvious 12-bar Blues type riff right at the end to fade. It has to be heard to be believed! Hearing this had the same affect on me as when I heard the Pink Panther theme during the infamous Friday Night in San Francisco concert - I had to rewind it to double-check that I wasn't going mad!

If you're someone wondering where to start with regards to buying Malian music, then please look no further. You shall no be disappointed.

N.B. I use the term Malian music instead of the popular 'African' music term, as it is like using the term European music. It simply doesn't exist. Africa is a huge continent, and the music types vary from country to country massively.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love west African music!

So pleased to have discovered Segu Blue and I Speak Fula by Bassekou Kouyate. I listened to a few sample songs on Amazon and decided to buy both CDs - I wasn't disappointed. They arrived very quickly and I immediately played them - wow! what a fantastic musical/singing treat.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm really enjoying this c.d. i've played it over and over again. , it has both a lovely gentle rymthmic chanting and a lightness to it. i find it both calming and uplifting at the same time. really really lovely sound. "spirtual" music. i'm very much looking forward to seeing the group in concert in a couple of weekds - having never heard of them before a month ago
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