Sunday, November 25, 2007

Joe Dioubaté, part 2

Things moved fast for Joe Dioubaté, and maybe a bit too fast.

On November 11, there was the 6th edition of the Guinean Hip Hop Golden Cassette Award (The Guinean phonographic market is still dominated by the good old cassette). The Golden Cassette was granted to a group named Sèmbèdèkè for their album Tétra. But Joe Dioubaté received two prices, one for Best Singer and one for Best Solo Album. With a few friends he celebrated this good news in a local boîte de nuit. When they returned late that night, a car collided with theirs, and drove off after the accident! Joe was wounded and brought in hospital, but was released a few days later, and returned to hospital the next weekend for internal bleedings. He fought for his life, but seems to be recovering now.

Yet an example that good news and bad news can follow each other very quickly. Also an example of the dangerous traffic conditions in Africa.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Joe Dioubaté or how a talented guy can be invisible on the internet

A few months ago, I have been contacted to see whether I could help a young guy making rap and hip hop and who just released his debut album in Guinea. Not that hip hop is my favourite music, but anyway, I accepted. I listened to the promo CD and after a few spinnings I gradually became convinced of his talents. I was told the guy was called Djo Dioubaté (I later discovered alternative ways of spelling his name, from Djoe to Joe) and started a Google session in order to find some more info on the guy. Google didn't come up with anything at all. I thought that this wasn't possible anymore, in 2007 one would expect a rapper or hip hop artist to be present on Youtube and MySpace at least, even if the artist isn't under contract.

I have learnt to be patient, and tried to find more info a few weeks later. Still not much, but found his name as featuring on songs by Guinean rappers Elie Kamano (who suffered a severe car accident earlier this year, from which he is still recovering), and Anny Kassy, who made a song against female genital mutilation.

So why this long introduction? Well, the guy is talented, he has a great voice and the songs on the album are great. Songs like Conakry (''Conakry, c'est ma capitale, où je vis et je suis sans un capital'') speak of the hopeless situation young Guineans are facing. Other songs address hope for change, give advise to young people to be serious and work for their future. Another song pays hommage to Siradiou Diallo, a well-known journalist (formerly editor with Jeune Afrique) who became politician in the 1990s and died in March 2004 in Paris.
He doesn't miss out the opportunity to express himself on the bloody reaction of the Guinean Government to the public protests in January and February of this year.

- Joe Dioubaté: « Révolution » (cassette), 2007 -

The Musiques d'Afrique web site now features a page about him here.

Here is a YouTube video clip by Elie Kamano (song « Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom »), Joe Dioubaté is the one with locks, sunglasses and guitar, he sings a few lines from 1:28 on.

In this clip from Anny Kassy (song « Femme ne pleure pas »), Joe sings several parts.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Habib Koité, Afriki Tour 2007

After a few years Habib Koité returned to the RASA venue in Utrecht, the Netherlands, where he had performed in 1998, 2001 and 2003.

After Aly Keita's first part (see previous blog entry), Habib came on stage, followed by Bamada musicians and started to play, rather timidly I must say. It was as if they were afraid to make a mistake. In between the songs, though, Habib added short notes about the songs and he was, even though he spoke in English only, rather ''at ease'', so to speak. He was in Holland, and in some way it showed (sic!). Anyway, the show improved and in the two or three songs he brought on stage during the ''encore'', they were unleashed and they played in the way I had seen them at previous occasions. It is a joy to see them, the music can be intimate at times, danceable at other times, there are no bad songs, and Habib is a very nice bloke and funny at times.

I can only recommend to see him at one the planned concerts this autumn. The agenda:

09-26-2007 Antwerpen, Belgium De Roma
09-27-2007 Arlon, Belgium Maison de la Culture
09-28-2007 Brussels, Belgium Flagey
09-29-2007 Utrecht, The Netherlands Rasa
09-30-2007 Amsterdam, Netherlands Melkweg
10-05-2007 Bern Muehle Hunziken
10-06-2007 Dornbirn (A), Spielboden
10-07-2007 Paris, France l'Européen
10-08-2007 Paris, France l'Européen
10-10-2007 Zurich, Moods
10-11-2007 Lucern (CH) Boa-Halle
10-12-2007 Basel (CH), Volkhaus
10-13-2007 Innsbruck, Austria Treibhaus
10-14-2007 Wein, Austria Wuk
10-19-2007 San Giovanni Valdarno (Firenze), Cinema Teatro Bucci
10-20-2007 Milano, Italy, Teatro del Verde
10-31-2007 Gotheborg, Sweden, TBA
11-01-2007 Malmö, Sweden, TBA
11-02-2007 Stockholm, Sweden, Festival Selam
11-05-2007 Groningen, Netherlands, De Oosterpoort
11-09-2007 Deventer, Netherlands, Burgerweeshuis
11-13-2007 Thionville, France, Théatre
11-14-2007 Veldhoven, Netherlands, De Schalm
11-15-2007 Liege, Belgium, Cinéma Le Parc
11-16-2007 Nismes, Belgium, Centre culturel Action Sud

(Please check on or for confirmed dates)

Aly Keita, a young balafola

After some difficulties entering Habib Koité's sold out concert last night in RASA (Utrecht), I was happy to be inside. At 9:15PM, a balafon player entered the stage and started to play a stunning piece. I didn't know the guy and I wondered whether Habib changed of balafon player. He played a second song, and then another one. Starting with a simple two notes, he builds up a song until a moment when you are wondering whether there is not a second balafon playing behind the curtain. This man is fabulous, what a speed and what a power! And his balafon sounded terrific as the gourds attached to the wooden keys were well resonating. This is balafon music as it should be. So it turned out to be a 30-minute mini-concert as a first part of Habib's concert. At the end of the concert, I found out that Contre-Jour, Habib's promotors, released Aly Keita's CD «Akwaba Iniséné» (Contre-Jour CJ016) only last week.

On the album he is backed up by a band, so the whole feel of the album is much different from the solo performance, although the balafon remains important. But the first notes of the first track show a bit how the performances sounded like. Guests on the album are Dobet Gnahoré, Kélétigui Diabaté and many others from the Contre-Jour stable (members from Gangbé Brass Band from Benin). A recommended album though, I spinned it twice this morning and I am still discovering.

Aly is a young guy from Cote d'Ivoire, based in Berlin, Germany.

More info on Aly on his MySpace page.