This seminal 7-inch album, recorded during the 1952 IFAN (Institut Français d’Afrique Noire) mission by the eminent French ethnomusicologist Gilbert Rouget (1916-2017), showcases great traditional West African music recorded in Mauritania, Guinea, Benin and Ivory Coast.
Ce remarquable 45 tours, enregistré en 1952 à l’occasion d’une mission de l’IFAN (Institut Français d’Afrique Noire) par l’éminent ethnomusicologue Gilbert Rouget (1916-2017), présente d’authentiques musiques ouest-africaines du monde traditionnel d’antan enregistrées en Mauritanie, en Guinée, au Bénin et en Côte d’Ivoire.
A1 – MAURITANIA (Moorish)
Mohamed Mbarek ould Manou plays the four-string tidinit lute and sings a poetic love song in Arabic composed by the Arab poet Medjoun. Ould Manou, a professional singer renowned throughout Mauritania, played in the style of the Trarza and Brakna provinces in southern Mauritania.
A2 – GUINEA (Malinke or Mandinka)
Mamadi Dioubaté (cover photograph), famous throughout Guinea at the time, plays variations on a theme to accompany an epic song on the 19-string kora lute.
A3 – BENIN (Yoruba)
Adjado sings and plays the single-string fiddle accompanied by three other singers, who also play calabash percussion and sakara drum. The musicians sing moral tales interspersed with praises addressed to the audience.
B1 – IVORY COAST (Adjoukrou)
Lohou Ceremony. This rite of passage initiates boys into the society of men. The boy’s choir engages in a call response with both the lead singer and the drums offering insight into the functioning of the African drum language.
B2 – IVORY COAST (Baoulé)
Two musicians play a small rudimentary xylophone with six raw wooden blades, the kind that farmers played when they spent time in the bush.
B3 – IVORY COAST (Ebrié)The musician holds a musical bow’s vine between his lips to create a resonance, striking it with a long stick accompanied by a calabash rattle and a bottle rhythmically struck with a nail. The song is about a type of bird which always nods (saying yes), an allusion to an easy woman.