Boomkat Product Review:
Deadly Malian fusions of local styles with western psych, blues and afro-beat, led by the flame-tipped fingers of electric guitar player Zani Diabaté, comparable with fingerstyle gods Ali Fake Touré or Rail Band’s Djelimady Tounkara
Trading in proper music for heads and feet, Super Djata Band de Bamako, to give them their full title, were among Mali’s top orchestras by the late ‘70s and into the ‘80s, when ‘En Super Forme Vol.1’ was recorded and issued by Ivory Coast’s Musique Mondiale in 1982. While their sound was staunchly rooted in the traditional rhythms and melodies of the Bambara people of southern Mali, it was patently porous to return influence from the American blues it begat, as heard in the tempered electric guitar fire of bandleader Zani Diabaté that grips us for the album’s duration.
Initially slow, swaying, in ‘Fongnana Koum’ Diabaté’s instrumental improv at its halfway point signals the fire to come in its massive highlight ’Nama Djidja’, where the band really pick up their knees for a driving psych-blues and afro-beat winner, whereas that energy is cooled off and languid on the more traditional sounding harmonies of ‘Sisse Na Djolo’, while the drums comes forward in ‘Batila’ in synch with Diabaté’s lip-bitingly tight lead. Yowzers.