MP3: New Sidi Toure; Album En Route


African bluesman continues to generate
international acclaim.


Blurt Staff


new Sidi Touré record, Koïma, will be out April 17th on Thrill Jockey. It’s
the followup to last year’s acclaimed Sahel
, wherein our reviewer hailed the bluesman’s slotting into the same
classic North Malian tradition as Salif Keita and Ali Farka Toure. “[The
record’s] contours are geometrically precise and sharply delineated against
deep silence,” wrote contributing editor Jen Kelly. “Yet listen harder and the
contours begin to bend and shimmer in the desert heat. Open spaces appear amid
carefully plotted phrases, and antic falsetto runs skitter across the free
spaces. Touré’s voice, quietly resonant and full of shadows, booms up out of
the picking, a counterpart that rises where the guitar riff falls.  The
music is full of taut contradictions, disciplined rhythms and wild flights of
fancy, deep serenity and palpable longing, the heat of rapid picking alongside
unhurried, contemplative cool.”


to the label, “Koïma is the natural progression
from Sahel Folk, as Sidi has moved from an album of duets, recorded
all in one take in his sister’s home in Gao, to a quintet recorded in a studio
in Bamako.
With Koïma, the intent is to record a different side of Songhaï
music from the sparse style captured
on Sahel Folk. The music is still distinctly Gao, but represented
this time in a much richer and luxuriant way. We move from the intimacy of a
quiet meeting between friends to the celebration of an evening of dance.


“The album title Koïma literally
means “go hear.” Koïma is an emblematic place of
Gao, “a Dune with his feet in the waters of the river Niger, and with his head touching
the sky,” says Sidi. In Malian folklore, Koïma is the
meeting place for the most powerful wizards of the world. This album is an
offering to the mystical power of that place.”


 Listen to/Download “Tondi Karaa (The White Stone)” off Koïma here: This song refers to a
legendary stone that sat in the center of Gao for 500 years, a symbol of purity
and prosperity, that, in the 1970s, went missing. Sidi sings of how misfortunate
has befallen Gao ever since, and the missing stone represents how individuality
and money have damaged the unity of the Songhaï culture.




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