LENI STERN, SABANI (LENI STERN RECORDINGS)
[DUNKELBUNT]
A NEW DAY; LAYA PROJECT REMIXED
ADDIS ACOUSTIC PROJECT
AFRO ROOTS WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
AMADOU & MARIAM
ANTÓNIO ZAMBUJO
APHRODESIA
BALKANBEATS
BANCO DE GAIA
BOBAN I MARKO MARKOVIC ORKESTAR
BOBAN I MARKO MARKOVIC
BOY WITHOUT GOD
C.J. CHENIER
CARLOS GOGO GOMEZ
CHOBAN ELEKTRIK
CHOPTEETH
CHRISTIANE D
CHRISTINE VAINDIRLIS
CLARA PONTY
COPAL
CUCHATA
DAMJAN KRAJACIC
DANIEL CROS
DEBO & FENDIKA
DEL CASTILLO
DR JAYANTHI KUMARESH
EARTHRISE SOUNDSYSTEM
EGYPT NOIR
ELIN FURUBOTN
EMILY SMITH
FANFARE CIOCARLIA VS. BOBAN & MARKO MARKOVIC
FEUFOLLET
FIAF PRESENTS WORLD NOMADS MOROCCO: MUSIC
FOOTSTEPS IN AFRICA
GECKO TURNER
GENTICORUM
GEOFF BERNER
GIANMARIA TESTA
GODS ROBOTS
GUARCO
HUUN HUUR TU
INDIAN OCEAN
IRENE JACOB & FRANCIS JACOB
JANAKA SELEKTA
JANYA
JERRY LEAKE
JOAQUIN DIAZ
JOEL RUBIN
JORGE STRUNZ
JOSEF KOUMBAS
JOYFUL NOISE (I GRADE RECORDS)
JUST A BAND
KAMI THOMPSON
KARTICK & GOTAM
KHALED
KHING ZIN & SHWE SHWE KHAING
KITKA'S CAUCASIAN CONNECTIONS PROJECT PERFORMANCES AND WORKSHOPS
KMANG KMANG
KOTTARASHKY AND THE RAIN DOGS
LA CHERGA
LAC LA BELLE
LAYA PROJECT
LENI STERN
LES TRIABOLIQUES
LISTEN FOR LIFE
LOBI TRAORÉ
LO'JO
LOKESH
MAGNIFICO
MAHALA RAI BANDA
MIDNITE
MOHAMMED ALIDU AND THE BIZUNG FAMILY
MR. SOMETHING SOMETHING
MY NAME IS KHAN
NAWAL
NAZARENES
NO STRANGER HERE (EARTHSYNC)
OCCIDENTAL BROTHERS ON TOUR
OCCIDENTAL GYPSY
OREKA TX
ORQUESTRA CONTEMPORÂNEA DE OLINDA
PABLO SANCHEZ
PEDRO MORAES
RAYA BRASS BAND
SALSA CELTICA
SAMITE
SARA BANLEIGH
SARAH AROESTE
SELAELO SELOTA
SHYE BEN-TZUR
SIA TOLNO
SIBIRI SAMAKE
SISTER FA
SLIDE TO FREEDOM II
SONIA BREX
SOSALA
SWEET ELECTRA
SYSTEMA SOLAR
TAGA SIDIBE
TAJ WEEKES
TARANA
TARUN NAYAR
TE VAKA
TELEPATH
THE MOUNTAIN MUSIC PROJECT
THE NATIVE AMERICA NORTH SHOWCASE
THE SPY FROM CAIRO
TITO GONZALEZ
TOUSSAINT
VARIOUS ARTISTS
VARIOUS ARTISTS
WATCHA CLAN
WHEN HARRY TRIES TO MARRY SOUNDTRACK
WOMEXIMIZER
WOMEXIMIZER
ZDOB SI ZDUB
ZIETI
Leni Stern, Sabani (Leni Stern Recordings)
The Ultimate Blues: Leni Stern and Friends Find the Strength of African Strings on the Intimate Sabani

Wildly creative guitarist meets musical soulmates and engaging new instruments in Mali—and records a stark yet warm dialogue as part of a close-knit, cross-cultural trio

In a warm Malian hotel room, the ngoni smiled.

A seemingly simple instrument with an evocative sound and deep past, it was both delighting and baffling the intrepid jazz and blues guitar maven from New York. Its tuning was open to interpretation, to the player’s feeling in the moment. The tonic sat square on the middle string, not at the bottom like most Western stringed instruments.

But as Leni Stern played this great-grandfather to the banjo, she knew she was in touch with something big. “I kept feeling I had the ultimate blues instrument in my hand,” Stern explains.

This ultimate blues buoys Sabani (Leni Stern Recordings; release: February 14, 2012), a beautifully stripped down collection of graceful and dynamic instrumental lines, thoughtful songs, and catchy dialogue across traditions. Inspired by easygoing jam sessions with two Malian musician friends and recorded at Salif Keita’s Mouffou Studios in Bamako, Sabani brings the sound of every string, every pulse
of the calabash and bounce of the talking drum to vivid life, to honor the intense and intimate connection Stern has developed with West African music over the last half-decade.

Stern and a trio of African master musicians—Kofo (talking drum, vocals), Alioune Faye (percussion), and Mamadou Ba (bass)—will share this sound with audiences on the West Coast and Midwest as part of their Spring 2012 tour. Cities include Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Cleveland, Albuquerque, and Phoenix.

“I don’t know why I waited so long to record this way,” Stern re?ects. Stern—whose life has taken her from Munich to New York, from the Peruvian rainforests to the music school in Benin she helped found—was a veteran of the American and European avant rock, jazz, and singer-songwriter circuit.

Brought by UNESCO to mentor studio engineers in Mali, Stern was hooked. She began performing at seminal venues like the Festival in the Desert, touring with musicians from Keita to Baaba Maal, and, perhaps most importantly, making close friends with her newfound teachers and companions. She spent nearly two years living, learning, and making music across Africa.

Bassekou Kouyate, masterful player of the ngoni, and other members of his highly respected family showed Stern the instrumental ropes. Ami Sacko, a popular Malian singer often compared to Tina Turner, taught Stern songs and vocal approaches, while her brother Buba also helped Stern work on her ngoni chops. Stern became a member of the family, earning a new name (Oumou) and sharing the many adventures and trials the musicians encountered as they played for presidents or ?ed collapsing festival stages.

It was playing alongside Kouyate at a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Malian independence, as one of 50 ngoni players honoring the occasion, that Stern was ?rst wowed by the deep and resonant ngoni ba, an encounter that sparked Stern’s ?rst ngoni-powered, blues-rich song, “Still Bleeding.”

Yet the most powerful moment that became Sabani, the spare follow up to Stern’s more lavishly arranged Africa-inspired work, was the feeling Stern savored as she jammed with friends from Keita’s band, string whiz Haruna Samake and artful percussionist Mamadou “Prince” Kone, who brings some of Mali’s lesser-known rhythms to the album.

Hanging around bus stations and airports, waiting for Keita, or meeting up in the evenings, the three friends often drank sugar-laden tea and made music together, blending their instruments and voices simply and organically.

This vibe bursts through on tracks like “Sorcerer,” which pairs Stern’s sharp, gritty, often eerie guitar with Samake’s round and percussive string work, and Stern’s Ricky Lee Jones-esque vocals with a warm, serpentine chorus in bambara Instrumentals like “An Saba” and “The Cat Who Stole the Moon” show both the virtuosity of crack players and the close listening of good friends, as contrasting yet harmonious melodies and timbres dance in dynamic interplay.

As the project came together in the relaxed atmosphere of Mouffou’s riverside studio, Stern also invited Sacko to sing (the bittersweet “Papillon”), and learned a thing or two from veteran sokou (folk ?ddle) player and singer Zoumana Tareta. Tareta regaled the three friends with both wisdom earned from his life as a sought-after musician (by stars like Oumou Sangare, for example) and with the gripping vocal performance that graces “Djanfa.”

These experiences have transformed and deeply moved the seasoned Stern, filling her with a quiet, unexpected sense of coming home, a moody warmth that pervades Sabani.

“After all my time in Africa, all the musicians I’ve gotten to work with, I feel like a different guitarist, a different person, like I belong to the red earth and the warm winds and the people I love there,” Stern muses. ”I don’t think anyone can go and live there without changing profoundly. And we have a lot to learn from Africa.”

<< release: 02/14/12 >>
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