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Featuring Siaka Doumbia
Released by earthcds Partners
Recorded and produced by Michael Pluznick
This CD was recorded outside of Sabalibougou at The Centre Togola, a local community center run by director Kareem Togola. ‘Bougou’ means ‘Village’ in the Bambara language, although this center 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 on this project is traditional, ‘new school’, Bambara-based djembe music. These are popular arrangements, as played by the younger generation djembe players or “Djembe Folas”, as they are called in Mali. These arrangements were put together by young master drummer Siaka Doumbia and played with his students: “MC” on konkoni (smallest two-headed drum struck with a stick); Morike on dundunba (largest two-headed drum) and Sekou on second djembe. Old-timer Aruna Doumbia joined in for a few pieces toward the end. The style is different than the older drummers’ style or “Old Master” arrangements, the other style played in Bamako.
Siaka was and remains our ‘go to’ guy in Mali. In addition, he is our friend and guide and was able to help arrange other recordings for this project. I met Siaka through our good friend, Paul Chandler, an American musician and music producer who lives in Mali.
The CD was made using a high-quality flash recorder and excellent microphones. It is surprisingly clear and concise, as are the arrangements, playing styles and techniques.
It is my goal, in a small way, to help 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 go directly to the musicians.