Mali’s pre-eminent singer/songwriter/bandleader came to New York this fall with an unusual act. In the past, he has brought blazing electric ensembles from Paris or New York, and, in recent years, a superb, mostly Malian band featuring acoustic African instruments. This time, the group was smaller still, even more acoustic, and they performed seated, like court musicians entertaining royalty. The music was transcendent, mixing Keita hits like “Tekere” and “Mandjou” with Mande traditional songs like “Sunjata,” the praise song for Salif’s 13thcentury ancestor, Sunjata Keita.
A collective of African musicians have come together to record a song to help raise awareness about Ebola in Africa. The song, entitled “Africa Stop Ebola”, features the singers Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Kandia Kora, Mory Kante, Sia Tolno, Barbara Kanam and rappers Didier Awadi, Marcus (from the band Banlieuz’Arts) and Mokobe, and also includes the musicians Sékou Kouyaté (electric guitar, bass, electric kora) et Ludovic N’Holle (drums).
The song is a message to citizens about what they can do to help stop the spread of Ebola in Africa. The song is performed in French and vernacular languages widely spoken across the region to ensure that the message is understood regardless of the level of literacy and education of the population.
1. SexMob plays film music of John Lurie & Inner Greatness performs the Music of John Lurie
Date: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 Time: 8pm Venue:Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012, Phone: 212- 505-3474) Ticket: $18 Genre: jazz
Featuring also Steven Bernstein, Tony Scherr, Briggan Krauss, Kenny Wollesen, Greg Saunier (of Deerhoof), Doug Wieselman, and Adam Brisbin
Sex Mob began merely as a setting to feature the slide trumpet of leader Steven Bernstein, but has grown into a band with a much larger mission: to put the fun back in jazz music. After assembling the band (Bernstein, slide trumpet; Briggan Krauss, alto sax; Tony Scherr, bass; Kenny Wollesen, drums), Sex Mob began a residency at the Knitting Factory, playing predominantly originals written by Bernstein. During a special evening of film music, the crowd went crazy for the “James Bond Theme,” and Bernstein realized that the audience was much more attuned to their playing when they recognized the tune. The band started to expand their songbook, but not to the same old, tired jazz standards. Songs by Prince, the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, and even the “Macarena” could find their way into a Sex Mob set, the only rule being that the song had to have such a strong melody that it could withstand serious deconstruction. Bernstein said in Jazz Asylum, “I realize that’s what jazz musicians have always done. That’s how Lester Young got popular; it’s how Charlie Parker got popular; it’s how Miles Davis got popular; that’s how John Coltrane got popular. They played the songs that everyone knew and because they could recognize the song, then that invited them into their style.”
I just found out that my friend and music colleague Salif Keita released a new album Talé on Universal Rec. Recently he was interviewed on Mali TV “Droit Libre”, in which he expressed his anger and disgust of the Malian government how they run the country. He also can’t accept the fact that musicians aren’t respected in Mali. They can’t live from their music and are exploited by the black market. Because of being mad at the political situation in his country and the miserable living conditions of musicians in Mali, he decided to retire from the music business! He wants to go back to his village and work their as a farmer. But before his retirement he still wants to play a couple of concerts.
If you ask me whether I can’t believe him. My answer is NO. I think he didn’t mean that. Becoming a farmer? That’s rediculous. I don’t want him to do something he can’t do. If he cares for his people and his country his job is to do his part as a musician to clean up the mess in his country. I’m very sure that his fans need him now more than ever. Now is the time that he shows what he stands for. He became a great musician and also rich because of their love and support. There was a time that he wanted to become a senator because he believed that he could become a positive force in the Malian political scene. I played my sax for him because I believed in him as a responsible man. A man who cares about his band, family and country. No, no and another no…I just hope that he has already changed his mind and talks about continuing playing. Because if he retires I wouldn’t try to see him again and play music in his village.