Sidi Touré “Koïma” Thrill Jockey
Malian guitar player and songwriter Sidi Touré has presented his second album on Thrill Jockey this month, which has come as a real treat for those of us out here who are heavily into the sounds of Africa. Last year’s Sahel Folk served as Sidi’s debut full length and was found primarily in a duo setting, relying on the heavy musical traditions of his home city of Gao. His latest release and second album with Thrill Jockey, Koïma, is accompanied by a bigger band and infuses traditions created by African-Americans in the west.
“Accompanied by a guitarist, calabash player, traditional violin (sokou) player, and singer“, Thrill Jockey mentions in their notes for the album, “Sidi has given us ten new songs that naturally mix tradition and modernity, African magic and city-dwelling dilemmas. The songs are personal tributes to the Songhaï folk music traditions, which, depending on the rhythm, are called Takambas, Holleys, Gao-Gaos, or Shallos.” The sensation of dance through celebration overwhelms most of the music with only one of the numbers relying on the lack of percussive elements.
Sidi Touré’s Koïma is a triumphant achievement in the exploration of the African and African-American emergence of sound with an emphasis on the African elements. One of the most interesting pieces on the album is ‘Euzo’ from its raw and striking nature. Stripped of the percussive identity that drives the previous nine songs, this five minute and highly lyrical composition leaves the album in the resting state of an ancient scenery. The folklore of Malia is at its most embedded at this ending point and the finalization that I didn’t want to come.
The background and history of Sidi’s heritage can be felt in a fuller light on Sidi’s second long player Koïma, an element that allows for a feeling of emotional impact that is as stunning and deep as it is soft and innocent. Lyrically, this album is as rich, metaphor filled and mystical as the music itself and the two share a relationship that gives the album a lasting affect listen after listend. Koïma is a must hear album for any fan who loves an eclectic branching of African harmony, the fusion of western ideas into this African framework of music and the overwhelming feeling of communion through the beat of the drum and the natural rhythms in music that come from Africa. With the help of Thrill Jockey, Sidi Touré is gaining wider and wider recognition for a timeless form of music.
- Ni see ay ga done (It is to You That I Sing)
- Aïy faadji (I am Nostalgic)
- Woy tiladio (Beautiful Woman, Godess of Water)
- Koïma (The Pink Dune of Koïma)
- Ishi tanmaha (They No Longer Hope)
- À chacun sa chance (To Each His Own Luck)
- Kalaa ay makoïy (I Must Go)
- Tondi karaa (The White Stone)
“The album title Koïma literally means “go hear.” Koïma is an emblematic place of Gao, “a Dune with his feet in the waters of the river Niger, and with his head touching the sky,” says Sidi. In Malian folklore, Koïma is the meeting place for the most powerful wizards of the world. Sidi received permission from the dune’s chief to go on the dune and to swim in the Niger. This album is an offering to the mystical power of that place.” – Thrill Jockey