You may have noticed my long-running obsession with the funkier, synth-oriented side of West African pop music. I particularly love a Mandingo flavor with a bit of tech and drum machine to it, maybe a dash of electric kora in there. This isn’t for my health, it is because the music sounds sweet and I truly believe pop music of the late 80s and into the 90s is due more appreciation.
When I was traveling in Mali and Burkina Faso I heard popular Mande sounds of this ilk (at times more saccharine, other times straight electric boogaloo) nonstop on the radio, in public transport and pretty much everywhere else. Although so many layers of history have formed in the years since Guinean diva Djanka Diabate (wife of Sekou Bembeya Diabate of Bembeya Jazz National) cut this contemporary journey through 1989 France (where it was recorded) the musical detritus of years and styles past accumulate in our psyche through persistent airplay and repetition, happily haunting the dancefloors of our minds.