One of the surprises of the week so far is a promo that dropped through the door, of Mali guitarist Samba TourĂ©’s new set ‘Albala’ issued on Glitterbeat. In 2012 we saw the attack on musician’s in northern Mali and the banning of music making in the country enforced by Islamic militants.
This is Samba’s on his third album. Â ‘Albala’, means â€śdangerâ€ť or â€śriskâ€ť, in the Songhai language. The press blub says: “To call Albala his darkest album is an understatement, but it is not a self-absorbed darkness. The cause of TourĂ©â€™s worry is the crashing world around him, and more specifically the troubles echoing out from his beloved northern Mali homeland.
The cumulative effect of the events in Mali on Sambaâ€™s music have added gravity to his voice and his words, an additional sting to his electric guitar; there are sharper edges and more complex undertones in his musical arrangements.
On one track â€śFondora (Leave Our Road)â€ť Samba sings with indignation:
“I say, leave our road/ All killers leave our road/ Thieves leave our road
Looters, leave our road/ Rapists, leave our road/ Betrayers, leave our road”.
And on the haunting â€śAgo Djamba (Life Betrays Us)â€ť TourĂ© warns: “We do not all have the same opportunities/ Here, nobody is born rich but we all have the same value/ Life betrays us”.
As a band member, and valued collaborator of the late Malian legend Ali Farka TourĂ©, Samba established a significant reputation, and through his first two solo albums ‘Songhai Blues’ and ‘Crocodile Blues’ (World Music Network) his confidence and musical prowess grew proportionately.
Alabala has more power than on previous sets.
Recorded at Studio Mali in Bamako, in the autumn last year, Samba is joined by his regular band members DjimĂ© Sissoko (nâ€™goni ) and Madou Sanogo (congas, djembe) and guests such as the legendary, master of the soku (a one-stringed violin) Zoumana Tereta and the fast-rising Malian neo-traditional singer Aminata Wassidje Traore.
Additionally, Hugo Race (The Bad Seeds, Dirtmusic, Fatalists) contributes an array of subtle atmospherics on guitar and keyboards.
Definately worth checking out.