‘Diré’, Idrissa Soumaoro new album, comes as a surprise to Malian and international audiences.
Composer, singer, guitarist and master of the kamalen n’goni Idrissa Soumaoro presents here a beautiful collection of songs on his third album, Diré, named in honor of the town where he met his wife and where his first daughter, who is no longer with us, was born.
In 1971, after his studies at the INA in Bamako, Idrissa was transferred to Diré to teach music at the
lPEG (Pedagogical Institute of General Education). He was 22 years old when he arrived in Diré. Idrissa
has always been nostalgic for this beautiful place in the 333 Saints of Timbuktu region. As Idrissa sings in ‘Diré taga’ (Going to Diré), the track that opens the album, the city evokes deep emotions for the artist, as if it were a long-lost friend or lover. Celebrating the memory of the city of Diré leads the artist to retrace stories and lived situations that marked and animated him in years gone by: ‘I really miss the
people, the colleagues, the friends and that period.
Despite the time that has flown by, I would ardently wish to see Diré again’. Today, at the difficult time Mali is experiencing, remembering the city of Diré in the 1970s also means for the artist not giving up hope for peace: ‘The memory of Diré, a beautiful town in northern Mali, strengthens my hope for peace, union and real independence for the happiness of my people’; as he sings in ‘Sababou’, ‘Without hope, there is no life. Together we will succeed’.
The ten highly original compositions of the album are strongly based upon traditional music of Mali, but
Idrissa’s life experiences, travels, education, collaborations and personal musical career have led him to
compose and perform music with other influences. As Idrissa quotes: ‘My inspiration generally comes
from the donso n’goni, a Bambara instrument played by and for hunters throughout Mali. This is a
pentatonic instrument, similar to the blues exported to the USA by black African slaves. I’ve also spent so much time playing a variety of music that my music also reflects rumba, salsa (as well as Bamanan blues and a few derivatives: jazz, country, soul, rhythm and blues) etc. I have looked for and hope to have found my own form of expression from these influences’.
Throughout the album, his strong, clear voice sings in French, Bambara and English. It rides seamlessly
upon a complex rhythmic sea of distinctly West African stringed instrumentation and percussion with
accents of flute and balafon. There are keyboards in a few songs, but these, happily, do not dominate the music as we hear so often in today’s music. This album presents the music of a mature artist who has ‘been there, done that’ and returned to celebrate his country, his roots and his dreams in a flawlessly produced collection of songs of love, reassurance, fatherly advice and hope.
The album already has a long history: it was initiated in 2012 by Marc-Antoine ‘Marko’ Moreau, former
producer and manager of Amadou and Mariam. Moreau had plans to produce the album and invited
Idrissa Soumaoro to start recording in Manjul’s studio in Bamako. When Moreau suddenly passed away,
work on the album was still missing. The pandemic still added time for the production to continue. With
the help of Climax Orchestra, arrangements and orchestrations were finalized in France. At the artist’s
behest, ‘Diré’ will finally be presented to the public by Mieruba, the independent label based in Ségou, the home of the blues in Mali. ‘Let’s stand together so that Mali can flourish’: from conception to production and distribution, this is the message that ‘Diré’ carries.
LP A1 – Diré taga 6:15
LP A2 – Kalata 2:48
LP A3 – I djidja 4:15
LP A4 – Kassi 3:42
LP A5 – Bi fourou 2:23
LP B1 – N’den tedi 3:54
LP B2 – Don’t worry 4:04
LP B3 – Sally 2:30
LP B4 – Sababou 4:05
LP B5 – Yélé 4:01
GENRE: World – Mali
RELEASE DATE: 22/09/2023