By: Corey Tate
Catch a global groove. Drag City Records is again bringing us the newest in offbeat sounds, and this time it's the music of Mali. Seriously, when I think of world music I am reminded of some of the worst incarnations of Grateful Dead or Paul Simon wannabes, and often forget about the purest of the pure... the actual musicians out in rural parts of the world, bringing in the traditions of their isolated areas, permeating the culture as time goes on.
With that notion in mind, Drag City has brought another imprint label onboard with Yaala Yaala Records. Loving every bit of the music from the African nation of Mali, Yaala Yaala brings music that is not only experimental and offbeat in today's world, but has a serious edge to it that could rival some of the experimentalists the western world loves. Yaala Yaala means “just wandering” in Mali. The label is run by Jack Carneal.
The music of Mali has more to it than we can imagine--there's talk of the locals believing in local magic and a tie in between pagan music and hunters as a brotherhood. Not separated as we would often find in America, but intertwined.
One of my favorite things that I read while perusing all of the infoweb information on the music from Mali--distortion is a customary part of the music. What a great culture... built around the systematic deconstruction of sound and context. Feedback was and is celebrated. Jimi Hendrix should have toured Mali, he would've gone over big there. This is perfectly played out in the music of Bougouni Yaalali [MP3 link].
Yaala Yaala just launced at the end of May with the release of three albums: Bougouni Yaalali, an album of various artists from Mali; Pekos and Yoro Diallo, famous in their region for plying instruments that use gourds and fishing lines to a distorted peak; and Daouda Dembele.