Boomkat Product Review:
Extreme high energy dance music from Mali’s DJ Diaki; a thrilling introduction to the style of ‘Balani Fou’ - or ‘Crazy Balani’, as favoured in the Malian countryside. One tape of original productions, one tape of DJ mixes - the latest and most lavish Nyege Nyege Tapes release to date (i mean, who gets a reclaimed tape clamshell screen printed on all 3 sides???)
A proper party starter hailing from 20km outside Bamako, Diaki Kone is a producer/DJ and originator of the Balani Show style that favours rapid coupé decalé rhythms lit up with whistles and crashing cymbals. The style was conceived by Seydou Bagayoko in the late ‘90s as a cheaper alternative to Balafon groups used for celebrations and dances, and was progressed by his apprentices DJ Diaki and DJ Sandji in the 2000s, resulting in the current style of ‘Balani Fou’ (or ‘Crazy Balani’) which favours remixes made on-the-fly with additional drum pads and sometimes synths, as heard in this exhilarating double tape which introduces the style to listeners beyond the region.
Balani Show hit a peak in the 2000s, with DJ Senateur performing on Malian TV, but in recent years it’s returned to its road level roots, soundtracking block parties and neighbourhood shindigs. Shows are high energy affairs, and get even more raucous in the country, where dancers prefer faster tempos than in the city, occasionally leading to moral panic at the sight of young ravers dancing provocatively at night, and attempts to ban the sound which has resulted in fewer Balani Shows in Bamako.
But DJ Diaki lives in the country and it’s different there, where he pushes the rhythms to body-rattling breaking point in the hypnotic style of Balani Fou. This set showcases 10 original productions in this mode on the first tape, ranging from the breathtakingly frenetic ‘But Show DD 1 Mix’ to the entrancing melodic appeal of ’Shekey Mix’ and the thrilling percussive pelt of ’Show Time Mix’, all primed for the nuttiest DJs and dancers. Meanwhile the 2nd tape’s two mixes put it all in context across seamlessly-blended 30 minute jags recorded in Sanankoroba during 2018-2019, that bring you as close as possible to the crazy energy of Balani Show without actually being there.
Super strong stuff. A must for anyone who loves the reckless rave of Tanzanian Singeli or hardcore dance music of any strain for that matter.