Far, far away from the loud bass beats, back to the beauty of Malian blues, if there’s anything to be loud it’s going to be your heartbeat stomping like an elephant in your chest. Lobi Traoré died in 2010 at young age of 49, shortly after the release of his last official live recording which includes the acoustic session Raining Blues.
Live at Bar Bozo was recorded in 1995, gathering seven amazing tracks, some instrumentals only, other sung, it is quite a unexpected and amazing trip that the man offers you.
The first track surprised me so much, reminding me of Personal Jesus (the Johnny Cash version) – well Depeche Mode didn’t invent the riff and we can find thousands of references, i’m sure, but the emotion i had listening to that song is pretty similar to what i feel listening to Ni tugula mogo mi ko. The communion that exists between the man and his guitar is simply astonishing. Don’t get mislead you might not find exactly what you know from Lobi especially if you refer to his colab with Ali Farka Touré.
Accompanied by a solid bass player, percussionist and drummer, Lobi explores the spectrum of blues music, unearthing it’s strong african roots, dusting them off, polishing them for our upper pleasure.
Definitely digging this !
Bamako Nights: Live at Bar Bozo 1995 will be available in a few days (the 15th of November exactly). You may buy it from Glitterhouse Records‘ website directly in CD or LP format under the catalog ref : GBCD/LP 003. There will surely be also a digital release available, just check Glitterhouse’s store !
01. Ni tugula mogo mi ko
04. Sigui Nyongon son fo
05. Ne Kele Kanuba
07. Bamaku N’tichi
From PR :
In 1995, the Bar Bozo was a unique destination. Mali’s democracy was just a few years old, and people were finding new ways to exercise freedom. The bar was an unglamorous, downtown nightspot, dark and often crowded. It didn’t cater to elites, but working people, who came to drink and dance and enjoy a live band long into the night. Lobi Traore was still emerging as a popular artist in Bamako. His earthy blend of Bambara roots and edgy electric guitar, and his philosophical songs of social life and the challenges rural people face in the city, were made to order for Bar Bozo. No wonder he packed the place on a weekly basis.
Lobi had begun recording albums by that time, and performing in Europe with an acoustic ensemble. But at Bar Bozo, he and his small electric ensemble were developing a new, rawer sound, one that would make Lobi a staple of Bamako’s live scene, and a legend of African blues celebrated around the world. You can hear in this smoldering session Lobi’s joy at having recently acquired a flanger pedal. His solos build to soaring, ecstatic heights, as unhinged as anything in African rock since.
The set starts out slow and meditative with “Ni Tugula Mogo Mi Ko,” conjuring a trance atmosphere that Lobi elevates systematically with his keening vocal and eloquent picking. You can almost feel the weight of a sweltering Bamako night as Lobi forcefully guides his band though musical catharsis. By the time they kick into high gear on “Sigui Nyongon Son Fo,” the weight has lifted and spirits are flying.
It’s hard to say enough about Lobi as a guitar stylist. His sound echoes older Malian pentatonic guitarists, notably the iconic Zani Diabate, whom Lobi accompanied briefly. And there are clear rock echoes; Lobi was a fan of ACDC’s Angus Young! But in the end, Lobi’s guitar voice is his own, unmistakable, deeply informed by tradition and graced with sparkling personal epiphanies—even with the flanger set to 110%.
A few weeks after this recording was made, Bamako authorities closed down the Bar Bozo, and Lobi had to move his joyful party to an obscure venue on the outskirts of town. Bamako Nights is a time capsule recording. It evokes an artist, a time, and a place that came together with amazing potency, and can never be recreated.