Spot On Mali Music was finally back in Bamako. After securing funds for another 3 editions we could go back to work on an edition, that showed, that Mali had not forgotten us. And that there more than ever was room for a festival and event, which specifically was directed towards providing a SPOT for new talent, as well as continuing to be a window to the world for the many talented artists, who normally don't get to show their art outside of Mali.
That we got back was to a great extend the work of Winnie Estrup Petersen, the ambassador of Denmark at the embassy in Bamako, who saw our potential and fought for the continuing existence of the festival and program including the Mali music institutions Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers Multimédia Balla Fasséké Kouyaté (CAMM) and Institut National des Arts (I.N.A.), Royal Academy of Music Aarhus/Aalborg (RAMA) in Denmark and Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse de Lyon(CNSMD) in France as well as partners like Spot Festival and Det Turkise Telt in Denmark.
The festival was meticulously planned by our Malian partners as well as by first and foremost Moussa Diallo, Barou Diallo and Aly Castro Traoré, as well as amazing Maison des Jeunes, which once again hosted our party. And what a party it was.
It is obvious that during the 4 years we have been hosting Spot On Mali Music the level of musicianship has steadily improved among the pupils at both CAMM and I.N.A., and a great "chapeau" goes to the teaching staff at the two institutions, and also to the was in which foreign students have been received in Mali and in Denmark and France, creating a strong sense of musicianship and musical collaborations that are promising. Among the big surprises was this year, where FARATUBEN showed new directions with a show, that was the best of the two worlds. Indeed the Fara in Faratuben comes from Farafin, which is bambara for black, and Tuben comes from Toubabou, which means white.
The invited guests and teachers, which included Isabelle Replumaz from the conservatory in Lyon and Evrim Citirikkaya from Det Turkise Telt and Steffen Møller from Spot Festival in Denmark, as well as director Abdoulaye Diallo of Jazz à Ouaga in Burkina Faso were party to a festival, which over the two days showed, that the showcase form with fast changes between the acts and bound together by the well known radio host and DEEZER musical expert, Mory Touré, was splendid entertainment, and also the music manager from Denmark, Carolina Vallejo, who manages among others the popular Guinean act, Sekou Kouyaté, was impressed and praised the festival.
Still the greatest thanks goes off course to the artists, where we started out with the amazing 12 year old singer and balafon genius, Fama Diabaté, who already sports a voice and sense of grazing, which goes beyond the traditional jeli/griot-tradition from which he heralds. He is a nephew of the great Kasse Mady Diabaté, and his set was one of great promise.
Diamy Sacko was another singer of great promise, who surprised us all. Being the sister of famous Ami Sacko - wife and collaborator of world star Bassekou Kouyaté - she has chosen first to pursue her studies before realizing, that music had to win. And choosing a style closer to traditional Manding music was interesting, as there was not a ngoni ba in sight. Instead she showed great showmanship and a fine voice. A mature and fine set by an interesting new artist on the Bamako scene.
Tima Maïga or Fatima Maïga as she is called off stage was one of the artists groomed by Karim Bengaly, music professor and balafon genius at I.N.A.. Tima who also plays in the all-women group of former Spot On Mali Music participant, Nainy Diabaté, gave a fabulous concert and showed, that she can write hits and follow them by a stage act, where her charming and bubbly nature was a big hit. Tima Maïga is an artist, who can fo far!
Mighty Dabara has been popular in Mali for a few years with his rustic band of balafons and a traditional show, which was elevated by his powerful vocals and funny remarks, which left all speaking bambara in fits of laughter, while the rest of us were blown away by a show, which was like nothing else. A show which is 100% ready for the festival stages around Europe!!!
I.N.A. Star has been the traditional name of one of the bands representing Institut National des Arts through the ages. Many acclaimed international artists have passed through, and this year's edition was again formidable with a nostalgic focus back at Buffet de la Gare days of the mighty Rail Band. Stinging guitars, flying kora notes and quality singing and an audience which understood how to appreciate what the kids were doing.
Doussou Bagayoko flew in from Paris and took over the stage!! Simple as that. The daughter of the famous diva, Nahawa Doumbia, is on the road to stardom, and her show was one of the best, I have seen in a few years. The voice is trademark Nahawa and yet it's own, and the interplay between Doussou and the musicians was fabulous. And the audience went nuts.
Just a few descriptions of the artists, who played at Spot On Mali Music 5. More will follow in the following days. As usual it will happen at our outlets, Spot On Mali Music on Facebook and www.spotonmalimusic.org.