Music From the Source – 2009

Dreams of Kirina | Baaba Maal | Playing For Change from Playing For Change on Vimeo.

While talking over our favored music from last year, Mali’s Tinariwen came up. Their 2009 record, Imidiwan (Companions) made two of our three top lists. In this group, we don’t let discrepancies like this alone. The holdout stated Imidiwan ‘sounded like their other records.’

Sure. I replied, “If Sophia Loren had an identical twin sister, she’d likely be as beautiful as her sister. You wouldn’t say, ‘oh she’s just a repeat of her sister’s beauty.’ ”

To which my muso bud replied, “Oh, I don’t think Sophia Loren is that beautiful.” Jeezum! He offered Jennifer Connelly as exemplar. I offered, again, my analogy. (Tinariwen home)

Here’s my top list of African music from 2009. I could add a bunch too, given reissues and other worthy candidates not listed. It was an extraordinary year because just about every African artist I closely track put out new music last year. Abdullah Ibrahim would top this list if his superb Bombella–my favorite single record of 2009–didn’t already top the improv list.

+Amadou & Mariam – Welcome to Mali
Baaba Maal – Television
Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba – I Speak Fula
Culture Music Club – Shime
Extra Golden – Thank You Very Quickly
Fanga – Sira Ba
Ghana Special –Modern Highlife Afro Sounds Ghana Blues
Jimi Tenor and Tony Allen – Inspiration Information 4
Kimi Djabate – Karam
Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics – Inspiration Information
+Orchestre National de Barbès – Alik
+Oumou Sangare – Seya
Salif Keita – La Difference
+Staff Benda Bilili – Tres Fort , Tres Fort
+Tinariwen – Imidiwan:Companions
Tony Allen – Secret Agent

(+Where to start…)

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