COMPOSERS: Super Rail Band de Bamako
LABELS: Indigo/Label Bleu
WORKS: Kongo Sigui
PERFORMER: Super Rail Band de Bamako
CATALOGUE NO: LBLC 2581
The SUPER RAIL BAND is more a Malian institution than a group. Since the Seventies – when it really was set up by the railway company, to counter political interference with the music business – various great names such as Salif Keita have passed through.
It has continued to evolve, even while only European tours and recordings have kept it going, and it has stayed more distanced from mid-century Latin influences on African music than its touring parallel from Senegal, the reformed Orchestre Baobab.
Now it’s fronted by a virtuoso guitarist, Djelimady Tounkara, whose ringing flourishes punctuate the songs over their simple chord patterns: timeless, full of rhythmic diversity, as the singers comment on local or topical issues from honest dealing to cassette piracy.