The latest album from Malian songwriter and guitarist Sidi Touré, released in the US by Thrill Jockey, is called Koïma, named for a dune near his home city of Gao. “Koïma” can be translated to mean “go hear”, and the dune, which sits at the edge of the Niger River, is said to be a sacred meeting place for the most powerful wizards of the world. As a songwriter, Sidi blends the traditional Songhaï music of his country with Western Blues and rock and roll. The themes he touches upon in his songs are also a kind of hybrid between two different worlds: one where wizards of the world meet on Koïma, and one of a post-colonial African life in an urban landscape. With the recent reentry of France into Mali, this inherent tension and harmony is even more affecting. Check out this special performance by the premiere bandleader and songwriter of Mali, recorded live in our studio:
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