Balani Show Super Hits: Electronic Street Parties from Mali
- Stewart Smith
- 19 May 2014
A snapshot of a vibrant and inventive scene fusing traditional djembe rhythms with pounding 4/4 beats
As Mali's Balani Show soundsystem culture has evolved, DJs and producers have gone from remixing Malian hits to creating their own tracks, fusing traditional djembe rhythms with pounding 4/4 beats. This fantastic compilation captures a vibrant and inventive scene, from the mellifluous autotuned vocals, perky keyboards and cantering snares of DJ Banaman to the hard-hitting rhymes and relentless djembe fury of Mamelon’s awesome ‘Koumba Fri Fri’ (‘The Head Dance’). DJ Balani’s ‘Bala’ perhaps best captures the early Balani Show sound with balafon samples chopped and spliced into dizzying polyrhythmic vortices over tinny snares and a whomping bass pulse. Kaba Blon’s tracks, produced by Sidiki Diabate (son of the kora master Toumani Diabate) are slicker and more melodic, with galloping rhythms and shiny synths. Then there’s DJ Sandji, whose remarkable ‘Bacoungana’ suggests a Malian take on footwork, with vocal samples edited and looped into ecstatic chorales over mutating beats.
Out now on Sahel Sounds.