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File under: Africansoulfolk

Leon Keita

Leon Keïta (LP)

Label: Analog Africa

Format: LP

Genre: Folk

Preorder: Releases October 6th 2023

€32.00
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Midway through the Mandingue groove inferno that is “Dakan Sate, Korotoumi” I knew I had found a gem. Hypnotic guitar solos, heavy bass riffs, psychedelic organ lines, and funky horns … what more could you want?

That was in 2006. I was in Bobo Dioulasso, the second largest city in Burkina Faso and one of its major centres of Mandingue culture. Here the sounds of nearby Mali and Guinea had fused with local styles, giving birth to a rich musical scene: bands such as Bembeya Jazz, Super Djata Band and other Mandingue giants were among the best-sellers of the region, and record dealers had once imported them in great quantities from distributors in Abidjan or Cotonou, the cities where most local artists had their LPs manufactured. Within a week, I was able to find most of Leon Keïta’s output … and listening to his tunes in this part of the world was as natural as breathing the mild Saharan air at dawn!

A fixture on the Malian music scene, Leon Keïta was born in Conakry on the Atlantic coast of Guinea in 1947. After completing his studies he found his way to the Malian capital where, in addition to founding the Piano Jazz Orchestra, he worked as a teacher, organiser of cultural festivals, and accountant for the National Tobacco and Match company. During this time he also wrote reports for the Malian President Modibo Keita, and at the end of meetings he would sometimes entertain the delegates with a song or two. Although Leon didn’t make many solo recordings, his songs continue to inspire the reverence of anyone fortunate enough to have heard them. In recent years the song “Dalaka” was rediscovered by Barranquilla’s sound system operator Carlos Estrada and became an unexpected hit on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. 

Twelve years after the release of the critically-acclaimed Bambara Mystic Soul compilation, this new compilation takes another deep-dive into Mandingue culture with five rare sides recorded during Leon Keïta’s fabled late 70s sessions. The LP, pressed on 180g virgin vinyl and housed in a beautiful jacket screen-printed in Greece, is limited to 2000 copies worldwide.
 

Details
File under: Africansoulfolk
Cat. number: AADE016
Year: 2023