Saturday, August 1

The Belle Epoque Rail Band

"... Rail Band 2: Mansa [Belle Epoque, 2008]. Formed by the Malian government in 1970 to beguile visiting businessmen and long recognized as the equal of Orchestra Baobab and √Čtoile de Dakar, Bamako's Rail Band was sparked initially by future crossover pioneer Salif Keita, who quit shortly after the 1973 arrival of vocalist-instrumentalist Mory Kante. Its presiding genius is master guitarist Djelimady Tounkara, backbone of the three maddening double-CDs that now constitute the band's legacy. Each set is dominated by four-to-10-minute recordings from 1973 to 1977, with synthed-up '80s tracks snuck in here and there, and though it's possible true cognoscenti can fathom an organizational logic that goes unexplained in the notes, I cannot. My mind tells me that the first volume is the least accessible not because it's appreciably earlier but because it seeks out deep-Malian lyrical content. ..."
Robert Christgau
amazon: Belle Epoque
The Rail Band: Belle Epoque Vol. 3 - Dioba
Belle Epoque Volume 1: Soundiata
YouTube: Belle Epoque Vol. 1: Soundiata, Belle Epoque Vol. 2: Mansa, Belle Epoque Vol. 3: Dioba