Every Song Has Its End: Sonic Dispatches from Traditional Mali

GB 029CD GB 029CD

2016 release. The second volume in Glitterbeat's Hidden Musics series. "If these instruments no longer exist, then we will have lost everything. I do not know how we will pass on our history, because the music itself permits us to know our past, to help us live, even today . . . it is our culture which will die." --Afel Bocoum, Malian musician

Mali's traditional life, customs, and art forms (musical and otherwise) are in a steady process of decline. Bamako, the country's vibrant capital, is the fastest-growing urban expanse in Africa and the rapid turn of young people from the village to the city has profoundly affected the place of Mali's ancient musical traditions (musical instruments, songs, oratory, and dance). The repositories of these traditions (elders, artisans, musicians, dancers, healers) are finding it increasingly difficult to transmit their arts to the ascendant, transitory generation. Bamako-based producer and educator Paul Chandler has been documenting the sonic and cultural complexities of Malian traditional music since the early 2000s. Every Song Has Its End is an out-of-time, visceral collection of sounds from Chandler's unparalleled archive. Echoes of these sounds can of course be heard in the urbanized Malian music that has been embraced throughout the world, but the songs, ritual soundscapes, and accompanying images found here are undoubtedly more raw, foundational, and filled with surprise than the Malian music to which many are accustomed. Accompanied by a recording engineer and a camera operator, Chandler has ventured to off-the-grid villages and crossroad towns all across the vast Malian landscape, seeking out practicing traditional musicians and their under-documented and often endangered musics. Immersive and exhilarating, these field recordings and videos offer a glimpse into the intricacies of the Malian musical experience, from the haunting modulations of the mostly female Group Ekanzam and the spiky, electrified drone of Super Onze, both recorded in Mali's remote and embattled northeastern desert region, to the hypnotic, pulsing sounds of the Mianka Cultural Troupe's elk horns (buru) and Ibrahim Traoré's warrior harp (bolon), both recorded over 900 miles away in Mali's more verdant southern hill country. Also includes performances by Group Tagout; Kimsy Bocoum, Afel Bocoum, Hama Sankare; Boukader Coulibaly; Bina Koumaré & Madou Diabate; Kassoun Bagayoko; Sidiki Coulibaly; Inna Baba Coulibaly; and the Cultural Troupe from Nioguébougoula. DVD is PAL format; region-free.