One of the most pivotal figures in the history of Malian music is Sorry Bamba. His work spans five decades and his music bridges the gap between Mali's cultural traditions and new the music which arose from the musical cross overs which occurred in Mali's post-Colonial period. Bamba was born in 1938 in Mopti. This is dissected by both the Niger and Bani rivers and known for its rich cultural diversity. Bamba's father was a distinguished veteran of Emperor Samory Toure's military and a nobleman in Malian society; however, this meant young Sorry was forbidden to make music, as under the nation's caste system, music was an art form reserved for the Griots.
At the age of 10, Sorry's parents died and in traumatic times that followed the young teen found solace in music. He first taught himself to play am African six-holed flute. As he progressed he began to absorbed the rich tapestry of music of his surroundings; traditional Malian music, highlife from Ghana, local accordion master Toumani Toure, European singers and musicians. In 1957 Sorry formed his first band, Group Goumbe, named after a popular Ivory Coast dance style. In 1960 Mali gained independence from France, Bamba and his group benefited from a new openness toward local music on the state-run radio network Radio Mali. Sorry then went on to form two award-winning, further collectives Bani Jazz and later the Kanaga Orchestra. They fused Latin jazz, Western R&B, Psychadelic and funk, and traditional Malian styles made them a favourite in Mali and beyond.
In 1979 Sorry produced his third LP for the Paris based Sonafric group. Long out of print Africa Seven is pleased to be re-issuing the LP with the authorization of the newly reformed Sonafric group. The re-issue benefits from extensive restoration and re-mastering to a spectral analysis level, bringing and polishing long lost and distorted sounds.
The six track masterpiece opens with "Mayel". It blends Afro-space grooves, cowbell and swirling organ with psych guitar and punchy horns. "Kanaga 78" was named after his band of the time. Sounding as fresh (if not more so) in 2016 as it did in 1979 the hypnotic bass, expansive drums, twisting organ and snakelike fuzz-guitar all combine to create a masterpiece of African psychedelia. "Bayadjourou" closes off Side A of the LP with its pulsating, incessant organ hook-line and driving tom drums while adding in layers of Malian vocal from a female chorus and Sorry himself.
Side B opens up with "Tjamantie Kolo" which is powered by driving conga and drums layered with traditional vocals and distorted picked electric guitar lines. "N'Nebakaidi" focuses on the song writing skill and delivery of Sorry who delivers a masterful vocal over grooves which somehow manage to sound melancholy but somehow also forlornly uplifting at the same time. The LP closes with "Nani Nani" which is a brass driven wall of African sound.
Stay tuned for further re-issues of Sorry Bamba's first and second albums soon on Africa Seven.