Having mentioned that I’m fond of the desert blues (which to my mind is a lazy way of saying ‘music made by people who live in the desert regions of North Africa using guitars’ but I am NOT going to call this ‘world music’), I figured its about time I posted some of this stuff. SO here’s one I bought as one of my recent payday treats.
Lobi Traore was from Mali and made several albums in the 90s and 00s before an untimely death. There is a description of his life here which is much better than I can do.
What I really love about the music from this area is that you can hear the space so vividly. This naturally leads me to make many musings on the idea of what the other music that I listen to says about the environment of the people making that music. Of course, this may only be true of ‘honest‘ music.
Some time back – many years, in fact, because this is a story about TV and I don’t watch that by choice since many years ago – I watched a program about the blues. The point was made by one of the African people interviewed that the main difference between African music and the blues was that the blues had a sadness and a bitterness due to the maltreatment of the slaves which tumbled down into the music of subsequent generations. Although admittedly not an authority, my dad reckoned that was bollocks because he thought there was a lot of joy in the blues, on account of how much of it is basically songs about fucking, and things don’t get all that much more joyful than that. I don’t think this is an either/or question though; music has room for both, and more besides.
This music here sounds more on the joyful end, to me. The sheer pleasure of playing is evident in the recorded performance, which must have meant it was even more evident in the flesh, hence why the guy had such a reputation in his backyard.