Distinguishing Features of The Musical Arts of Mali

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Mali is a country settled southwest of Algeria, West Africa. The capital of Mali is Bamako, located on the Niger River. In 2012, Northern Mali has been completely conquered by the Islamist group. As a result, the Islamist group put in jurisprudence by force, imposing Islamic law such as Sharia law throughout the African country. The Sharia law was the prohibition of music in the north of Mali; but, this hasn’t stopped several musicians from taking part in music or singing, fighting to achieve back their freedom. This Moslem conquest failed to last for long. With assistance from France and a few African states, most of northern Mali was able to break away from the grip of the Islamist group.

Kasse Mady Diabate is a West African singer and is considered a national treasure in Mali. He is a descendant of the griot family of the traditional Manding empire, the Diabetes of Kela. Kasse Mady Diabate had made politically impressed music from Mali against the previous government prohibition music. For instance, Kasse Mady Diabate created a song known as ‘Kaira’, a song for peace associated an improvisation in praise of the singer’s accompanists. The source of much of Mali ’s musical traditions is derived from Mande jalis, which are a family of performing poets. The Mande jalis sleep in Kela village, where most of the heritage musicians reside in. There are jails all over Mali but those from Kela village who are most well-known and revered.

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For instance, Kasse Mady Diabate from Kela village once appeared with different jails in France, Mali, Guinea or Niger, folks would cheer and exclaim loud as before long as he sings, saying, “at last, here is Kassemady!”. It is not enough for a jali to be able to sing because folks solely listen if a jali will show that he is also well-educated. Another great figure in Malian contemporary music is Keletigui Diabate. Keletigui Diabate will play the instruments Balafon, guitar, and single-reed woodwind. The balafon is a gourd-resonated instrument and a kind of idiophone. Balafon is used to improvise when accompanying a male or female singer. Improvisation is intended to avoid monotony in music. In tradition and modern music, once you don’t improvise, it becomes monotonous.

Keletigui Diabate led a group called formation “A” of L’Orchestre National. This group was organized as the National Orchestra for Mali in the wake of its independence. This set has associated overall melodic sensibility alongside with extraordinary guitars and wonderful vocals. The Mali Federation gained independence from Franco in 1960. Once Senegal withdrew from the Federation, this allowed the Sudanese Republic to become the freelance Republic of Mali. After independence, there was a real renaissance of popular music in Mali. Government orchestras began to encourage the creation of music for the new Mali. From 1962-1963, orchestras started to use modern instruments to play traditional songs which we had known for many years. This was an act of taking their independence in music as well.

Djibril Diallo, the director of Mali’s state railways within the days, was crazy regarding music. Because the station’s hotel and buffet were controlled by the railways, he wanted to find a way of making the buffet’s garden profitable. He thought this could be done by creating an orchestra that would play in the garden almost every day of the week, and so the Buffet Hotel was the hottest spot in Bamako. There is a legendary band that has been an institution in Mali since the late 1960s called the Super Rail Band Orchestre Du Buffet Hotel De La Gare De Bamako, Mali. This band is mixed with traditional African instruments with electric guitars, led by singers and instrumentalist Djelimady Tounkara. With the assistance of the Malian government subsidy in the 1950s for local groups to integrate indigenous folk traditions into their music, the Super Rail Band was formed. The band is mixed in with Afro-Cuban dance rhythms, electrical guitars, 8and percussions (trap drums). The Super Rail band served as a crucial launch area for the careers of diverse West African musicians.

Salif Keita, a former member of the Super Rail Band de Bamako, is an afro-pop singer-songwriter from Mali. He was cast out by his family and ostracized by the community as a result of his birth defect, albinism, a symbol of dangerous luck in Mandinka culture. Keita later moved to Paris in 1984 to reach a larger audience. His music combined the traditional West African music style with influences from both Europe and the Americas. In Keita’s work, you’ll hear several musical instruments like the balafons, djembes, guitars, koras, organs, and saxophones. The djembe is a goblet drum classified as a membranophone with only one open membrane at one end. The kora is a stringed instrument classified as a chordophone measured by the bare fingers. Organs are keyboard instruments. Most of Salif Keita’s music integrated Afro-Cuban influences. Salif Keita believes that it is an obligation for all Malians to love Cuban music because it is through Cuban music that we discovered trendy instruments. Afro-Cuban music in Mali, and particularly in West Africa is reminiscent of African people because there is percussion, and it is through Afro-Cuban music that one expresses themselves through percussion.

There is rhythmic base in Afro-Cuban music and so, it is a lot easier to dance to than the tango or the waltz, therefore, it develops this urge for dance and movement. Malian artists, notably these days, do not compose their material. They draw from their home ground and a few of their songs are 200-300 years old. However, they do make arrangements and adaptions to make their songs more suitable for today’s needs. For instance, Orchestre Regional de Segou, a jazz group of 1952, that has been most loved and demanded isn’t tied with the heritage of the jalis. This enables the band to draw from several regional traditions that are strong up-tempo rhythms.

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