BOBO MUSIC OF MALI
Released by earthcds partners.
Recorded and produced by Michael Pluznick
Audio CD: 74 minutes – 13 tracks
The music for this CD was made at Centre Togola, the local community center, outside Sabalibougou. It is run by by director Kareem Togola. ‘Bougou’ means ‘village’ in Bombara language, although it is located in a city district inside a bustling marketplace on the outskirts of Bamako, Mali, West Africa.
The community center houses local dancers, drummers and musicians, most of whom play in the center’s award-winning group. Many famous district groups from outside the city – and deep in the countryside – also pass through the center. This is how we were able to find some of the other groups and music we recorded as well.
The music for this album is traditional ‘Bobo’ music. The Bobo speak Bobo, from the Mande family of languages. It is believed the Bobo have lived in Mali and western Burkina Faso since around 800 A.D. With their population numbering around 100,000, they are primarily agricultural. They also cultivate cotton, which they trade.
A cornerstone of Bobo belief is that man maintaining a balance and harmony with Nature and that order be restored through ceremonies. Their primary deity, Wuro, who can not be described, orders all things. Dwo, revealed during mask ceremonies, is another major god. He lives in a mask until it is worn. Then, his spirit is fused with the spirit of the wearer, who is then empowered to communicate Dwo’s will to others.
I heard this group on my first trip to Mali with my friend and executive producer, Paul Chandler.
Kalifa, a young talented drummer of Bobo ethnicity, took us to an evening ceremony outside of town. The people were very friendly and it was amazing to watch and experience musicians playing the gourd drums and balaphones late into the night. I asked my friends how we could record them. One of them, Siaka Doumbia, was able to gather them for a session. While we were recording one group of musicians at the Centre Togola, there just happened to be another group there as well. So, we were able to record both groups on one CD.
It is my goal, in a small way, to preserve the culture and heritage through the music my teachers, friends and I are presenting. As this is a labor of love, any profits made from these recordings will go directly to the musicians.