Tag Archives: Imranino

a clip of the closing track of our upcoming album ‘tuning pegs and fishing line’…

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music cycles’ first promo video…

Festival Waakono: 2011…

Reaching Ke-Massina had been stressful. Imran had watched his guitar fly off the roof of our moving bus onto the dusty road behind us and we had both begun to wonder if our long journey from Bamako would be worth it.

The driver didn’t seem to think a guitar would need attaching

But to our surprise the guitar survived its fall at 50 km per hour and as we arrived in the tiny village things began to look up.

A nice welcome committee

Greeted by dinner and friendly faces, we had a quick jam before jumping in a pinasse to cross the River Niger reaching the small island of sand where the Festival Culturel Waakono would take place.

Boat Crossing

As we left the pinasse and paddled through the river water to the island we spotted the small stage area. Fairy lights flashed neon blue, strung over wooden poles with electrical cables creeping over one another. Large crowds of locals gathered, a circle formed around the stage and the smell of brochettes warmed the fresh river air.

Imran and Flo enjoying some music

It was not difficult to see that this festival was different. A little bit special. Organised and financed by Malian musicians for the benefit of the local people and for us, a lovely place to play our first gig of Mali

Us playing!

The ride back to Segu was much more fun than anticipated

Festival au Désert 2011: airport jamming…

As we rubbed our eyes of a nights worth of sleepy dust and desert sand Imran rummaged to find the ringing mobile phone. It was Bassekou’s brother (and fellow band member) Foussyeni, who had recently become our Malian uncle. Fousseyni seemed his normal relaxed self, though it seemed quite alarming he should be calling at 9am given the life of almost every Bamako musician we knew remained exclusively nocturnal. Then Fousseyni explained that our flight was leaving in half an hour.

As we rushed into the airport building, looking a little bedraggled, we realized the flight would not be leaving for some time and sat down to enjoy a post-festival jam.

We jammin

Engulfed in his grand boubou, Amanou of the band ‘Tartit’, played the three stringed Tamasheq ngoni bringing the sound of the desert into the departure lounge. Next to him Dimitri from the headlining band Dinamitri Jazz Folklore added sensitive melodies and solos influenced by his Italian heritage and jazz background.

Amanou from Tartit and Dimitri

As Mikaela improvised vocal lines Amkoullel reminded us all of the young and energetic face of Mali, his Bambara lyrics fusing into the mix. Tiwitine later took Imran’s guitar adding the rich tones of North Mali’s musical culture.

Tiwitine

Mikaela, Amkoullel and Dimitri

For us this was a jam session where the challenges of collaborating with such different musical styles melted away. With such sensitive contributors, we found ourselves, as so often has been the case on this journey, surrounded by a supportive and welcoming circle of musicians.

Outside the tama (talking drum) spoke to the air as dancers from various bands moved like fire, some barefoot, some in killer heels. They moved fast on the hot tarmac, showing us all their passion extended way beyond a ten-minute choreographed performance.

Tamas at the airport

Eventually, as we boarded the plane for Bamako, we couldn’t help but will our delay to continue. Just for another hour or so…

No easyjet flight!