N° 42
December 15, 2003

Yeredon of Koko Dembélé - Fantastic prolongation of the saga.
“Yèrèdon” is the title of the new album of Koko Dembélé, the undisputed leader of the Rasta movement in Mali. A sumptuous work recorded at the studio JBZ of Abidjan. Original and fantastic prolongation of the beautiful saga of the reggae man who has an atypical trip, yèrèdon is an album of 10 tracks. Défenses, Wele, Saraka, Ismalo, Sinibé, Boitoun, and Hansoulou… are irresistible tracks that can cut your breath on a dance floor. The album releasing is planned for the feasts of the end of the year will be put on sale by Malik7 SA. Before, the passionate of engaged lyrics and beautiful melodies will have the occasion to taste the opus on the radio.

“Yèrèdon” is in the same register of "Baguinée" and "Tendero", the two first albums of the author and come to revive his promising career. The immeasurable talent of the child of the Malian Venice makes of him dignified heir of Bob Marley. Koko Dembélé was born in 1954 in Mopti, a town situated at 675 km from Bamako, capital of Mali. The Bobo child was rocked in the Fulani, Dogônô and bozo culture, the great number of his influences can justify his engagement.

As coming from a griot family, it was difficult for "Igofrey" to take another way in life. His father was an excellent percussionist and exercised the familial profession of shoemaker and used to animate the traditional feast of the village. His wife always accompanied him with her melodious voice. They were the stars of the traditional ceremonies of christening, circumcision, of wedding or rejoicing ceremonies for fructuous harvests. Koko already loved music and was always present when his parents were animating. So it’s in this ambiance that he began at the age of seven to play percussion near his father.

By accompanying his father, he discovered towns like Bandiagara (capital of the Dogon country) and historical cities such as Gao, Djenné and Timbuktu. “With my parents, I’ve learned the oral tradition, the history of the griots, and their role in the African society. The griots are the counsellors of the kings or princes and, today, of the presidents. They are philosophers, ambassadors, and master of the word, guardians of the traditions, social and cultural animators, musicians or masters of ceremonies” he recited to prove that he intended a good school.

From 1961 to 1969, he intended the primary school of Mopti before the one of Bandiagara. After his failure at the first exams, he chose a musical career. And from 1976 to 1986, after ten years of work and researches, Koko became the solo guitar player of the famous orchestra of Mopti: The Kanaga; a regional band that became a national band under the direction of Sory Bamba who taught a lot to our Rasta man. The star distinguished himself at that time with successful interpretations of Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, etc. his voice attracted masses of people. This allowed him to impose himself quickly as the main singer of the formation.

In 1982, The Kanaga took part in the festival of the Zone II in Dakar where 12 countries of Africa were invited. That was the beginning of a fantastic musical adventure that led him towards new horizons. Thus, the band was invited at the “festival métisse d' Angoulême (France)” were they met several other bands of the world. In 1993, Koko Dembélé composed and sang “amagni”, a song denouncing lies, robbery, and corruption and exhorting the men of every country to become dignified and good.
In the meantime, Koko went to Abidjan to begin a solo career. At that time, the region was the reckoned platform of the African showbiz. There he met the genius, Boncana Maïga "Maestro".

The Rasta guitar player and virtuoso of percussion then had the privilege to work with the maestro. Their collaboration led in 1993 to "Baguinée" with the track Amagni. This first work had a huge success out of the continent and especially in Brazil where it was sold like hot cakes. That was the beginning of the international notoriety. In April 1997, Koko is the fourth distinguished guest after Nelson Mandela, Michael Jackson and Paul Simon at the 18e festival of Olodum. And five months after, in September 1997, Koko is re-invited by the "Baianos" (inhabitant of BAHIA). The success is total. The artist is at the top of all the Hits parades of his country.

This phenomenal success allowed him an international opening and he released a new album called "Tendoro". The success is immediate because no one could stay indifferent to tracks such as Rasta man, Tendoro, N'Sirana Malo, Fugnèba… he then undertook a tour that led him to France, Germany and Switzerland.

After his return from Europe, he undertook a sub regional tour in all the principal towns of Ivory Coast and Mali. In Mali, he stayed at the top of the hit parades during two years. After this success, the artist vanished for a moment to prepare his new album. The result is beyond the expectations because Koko did his best on this one and it will surely seduce and conquer the rare souls that were until now indifferent to his talent. “Yèrèdon” is above all the gift for the end of the year that Mali K7 offers to the music lovers.

Thione Seck, one of the most beautiful voices of the Senegalese music is back with his new album "Orientissimo". It’s an album of 14 tracks produced by Syllart production africando with oriental music perfume. Recorded between Badras (India), Cairo (Egypt), Paris (France) and Dakar (Senegal), this album is a musical master piece and the first experience of cultural inter-penetration ORIENT/AFRICA (at the south of the Sahara). The recording was made from 2000 to 2002. For the time being, 6 tracks will be available on tape and the CD will be available in March 2004.

According to the rumours, “the strong man of the regime” Yéli Fuzzo won’t be in Bamako for the end of the year. In all probability, he is preparing with his staff some showcases in the USA that will allow him to have his place in music in the country of Uncle Sam.

Amkoullel, the Fulani child is pursuing his studies in the cold in Paris. The young Malian shepherd is fine. Good luck to him.

Best Sales 2003 in Mali
Artiste Album
  Seydou Camara Mali Den  
  Déniba Sanogo Jolie
Mamou Sidibé
Idrissa Soumaoro
  Tata Diakité Djama
Salif Keïta
Kon Kan Ko Sata
Madou Camara
& Mah Kouyaté
Tata Diakité
Hommage (Best Of)
Rokia Traoré