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Un Autre Blanc

Français

Après une vie de tribulations du fait de sa différence, Salif célèbre enfin ce qu’il est, “Un autre Blanc”, et invite le monde à célébrer la Différence avec lui.

 

Rail-Band du Buffet-Hôtel de la Gare, Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako, Ambassadeurs internationaux et dernièrement, Les Nouveaux Ambassadeurs! Autant de formations musicales exceptionnelles qui ont permis à Salif Keïta de gravir les marches raides de la célébrité mondiale et dont les noms évoquent quête, mobilité et voyage. Ils expriment aussi le désir ardent qui a animé très tôt Salif Keïta, le Blanc à l’âme profondément négro-africaine, de s’éloigner d’une société qui lui refusait ses droits d’homme à part entière. Les noms de ces groupes traduisent aussi, comble du paradoxe, la fierté sans compromis de l’artiste, d’appartenir à ce Mali mythique et à son Mandé natal, terres dont il s’est chargé d’illustrer les belles valeurs d’humanisme aux quatre coins du monde.

Mais peut-on vraiment parler du poète Salif Keïta sans emprunter ses propres mots? Ainsi, d’un studio parisien en 1986, il s’écriait: Sina, O Sina, i den to tò le jamanakè do”/ “Oh, Sina, ton fils se perd sur les sentiers du monde.” Mais cinq ans plus plus tard, force était de constater que non seulement l’enfant de Sina le maître-chasseur et de la douce Nassira Keita ne s’était pas égaré, mais qu’il  rassurait même son maître de sentier par ces mots: “Eh, Karamoko, taama diyara”/Ô Maitre, mes pérégrinations ont porté fruits.”

 

Parti très jeune de Djoliba vers la fin des années 60, premier village-modèle reconstruit par l’USAID américaine au lendemain de l’indépendance du Mali, l’oiseau-pèlerin du Mandé a sillonné le monde, en se perchant toujours, dit-il, sur l’arbre le plus haut, celui de la Connaissance, Lony, bien à l’abri des pierres que lui lançaient les méchants.

 

En 40 ans et depuis le délicieux et intemporel Mandjou(1978), que de merveilleux joyaux ciselés par cet orfèvre des mots, le Roi Midas malien: Soro(1987), Amen(1991), Folon(1995), Papa(1998), Moffou(2002), La Différence(2009) et Talé(2012)! Tant de fructueuses collaborations internationales également: Joe Zawinul, Steve Hillage, Jean-Philippe Rykiel, Carlos Santana, Cesaria Evora, Wayne Shorter, Ibrahim Maalouf, Vernon Reid/Living Colour, Philippe Cohen Solal, et naturellement, Esperanza Spalding. C’est aussi bon nombre de ses tubes remixés et popularisés de plus belle par des DJ réputés, comme Funk Mob, Frédéric Galliano, Martin Solveig, et Luciano.

 

Et tant d’honneurs, de distinctions nationales et de prix engrangés au fil des décennies de tournées aux quatre coins du monde, ont scellé la réputation de celui qu’on appelle la Voix d’or de l’Afrique, le patriarche indisputé et l’ambassadeur de la musique africaine?

 

Nous voici, quarante ans plus tard, et un nouveau jalon, Un autre Blanc, album qui, selon Keita, sera son dernier. S’apprêtant à marquer ses 50 années de carrière musicale et presque septuagenaire, et comme pour ralentir la vapeur, Salif Keita compte désormais étaler sa natte sous les manguiers des berges du fleuve Niger, et s’adonner à de longues parties de dames, son passe-temps préféré. Repos bien mérité, certes, pour le Prodige(N’an kama) de Djoliba, mais doit-on pour autant croire que ce bel album sera le dernier mot de l’intarissable barde, dont la voix ensoleillée a porté l’espoir jusque dans les cellules de Robben Island?

 

Cet album de 10 nouveaux titres prolonge la lutte de Salif Keita pour les droits des albinos, action qu’intensifiera La Fondation Salif Keita pour les Albinos, d’autant plus que les Nations-Unies ont décrété le 13 juin Journée Internationale de Sensibilisation sur l’Albinisme. Salif proteste contre les enlèvements et les meurtres d’albinos dans de nombreux pays africains pour des rituels de sorcellerie. Il dénonce les féticheurs et les charlatans qui véhiculent et perpétuent mensonges et superstitions pour s’enrichir, en entraînant souvent dans leurs entreprises criminelles des membres de la famille des victimes eux-mêmes.

English

After a life of tribulations because of his difference, Salif finally celebrates what he is, “Another White”, and calls on the world to celebrate Difference with him.

 

 Rail Band of the Train Station Hotel, Ambassadeurs of the Motel of Bamako,  Ambassadeurs Internationaux, and lately, Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux: so many bands that enabled Salif Keita to ascend the steep steps to world fame. Not only do their names suggest a quest, a thirst for mobility and travel, they translate also his burning desire, as a person with albinism, the white man with the deep soul of Black Africa, to escape from a society that was denying him his full rights as a human being. Paradoxically, the names of these bands also express Salif Keita’s uncompromising pride of belonging to Mali and Manden, the legendary lands of his birth, whose captivating Humanism he has been championing around the world for several decades now.

But how can one speak about Salif Keita the poet without borrowing his own words? From a Parisian recording studio in 1986, he proclaimed: “Sina, O Sina, i den to tò le jamanakè do”/Sina, O, Sina, your son is lost far away from home.” Five years later, not only this son of Sina the Master hunter and sweet Nassira Keita had not lost his way, he had only these reassuring words for his Spiritual Teacher: “O, Karamoko, taama diyara”/ “O, Master, my wanderings have borne fruits.”

 

Having left at a very young age his native Djoliba in the late sixties, first village chosen to be rebuilt by the American US AID right after Mali’s independence, the traveling bird of Mandé has gone around the world, safely perching, as he said, on one tall tree, that of Knowledge, Lony, where the rocks thrown by mean people could not reach him.

 

And 40 years after his delightful and ageless Mandjou(1978), let’s recall some of the many jewels this master-wordsmith, the Malian King Midas, has chiseled for us: Soro(1987), Amen(1991), Folon(1995), Papa(1998), Moffou(2002), La Différence(2009) et Talé(2012). And so many memorable international collaborations: Joe Zawinul, Steve Hillage, Jean-Philippe Rykiel, Carlos Santana, Cesaria Evora, Wayne Shorter, Ibrahim Maalouf, Vernon Reid/Living Colour, Philippe Cohen Solal, and of course, Esperanza Spalding. Let’s not forget his many hits remixed and popularized even further by world-renowned DJs such as Funk Mob, Frédéric Galliano, Martin Solveig and Luciano.

 

And along the way, Salif has bagged countless awards, national distinctions and prizes over his decades of touring the world, establishing his reputation as the Golden Voice of Africa, the Patriarch and the undisputed Ambassador of African music.

 

Here we are. Forty years later and another milestone, Un Autre Blanc, the new album that Salif Keita has announced as his last. Ready to celebrate 50 years of a stellar career in music and soon to be seventy, and perhaps as a way of winding down, Salif Keita wishes to spread out his mat under the mango trees of the banks of the Niger river, to indulge in his favorite game of draughts. A well-deserved rest, to be sure, for the Prodigy(N’an kama) of Djoliba but should we really believe that this beautiful album will be the last word of a most prolific poet, whose luminous voice has carried hope, even as far as the cells of Robben Island?

 

This album of 10 brand-new tracks continues Salif’s advocacy for the human rights of people with Albinism, a fight his Foundation for Albinism pledges to intensify, especially since the UN has declared June 13, International Albinism Awareness Day. Salif is protesting the ongoing abductions and killings of people with albinism in a number of African countries for purposes of witchcraft and financial profit. He decries the fact that local witch doctors often purposefully spread and perpetuate misconceptions and superstitions for personal gain, and in some cases, family members of these innocent victims being complicit in these horrible crimes.

Notes rédigées par Chérif Keita, William H. Laird Professor of French and the Liberal Arts, à Carleton College(USA) et l’auteur de Salif Keïta: l’ambassadeur de la musique du Mali(Paris: Grandvaux, 2009) et de Outcast to Ambassador: The Musical Odyssey of Salif Keita(Amazon: Create Space, 2011).

Sleeve notes by Chérif Keita, the William H. Laird Professor of French and the Liberal Arts, Carleton College, USA. He is the author of Salif Keïta, l’ambassadeur de la musique du Mali(Paris: Editions Grandvaux, 2009) and Outcast to Ambassador: The Musical Odyssey of Salif Keita(Amazon: CreateSpace, 2011).

  1. Were Were
  2. Syrie
  3. Tonton
  4. Itarafo ft Angelique Kidjo & MHD
  5. Diawara Fa ft Yemi Alade
  6. Bah Poulo
  7. Tiranke
  8. Lerou Lerou
  9. Ngamale ft Ladysmith Black Mambazo
  10. Mansa Fo La ft Alpha Blondy

Galette Promo Salif Keita
Pochette--Salif-Keita

  1. “Were were”: Salif expresses his deep belief in the power of Destiny in shaping our lives, along with his pride in being an African, of belonging to the land of Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Sékou Touré, Modibo Keïta, Patrice Lumumba, Samora Machel and Martin Luther King, among others.

“Were were”:  Salif croit profondément au pouvoir de la destinée dans la vie de chacun et affirme sa fierté africaine et son appartenance à la terre de Nelson Mandela, de Desmond Tutu, de Sékou Touré, de Modibo Keïta, de Patrice Lumumba, de Samora Machel et de Martin Luther King, entre autres.

  1. “Syrie”: Revolted by the atrocities inflicted by wars on women and children, Salif vehemently denounces war and violence in the world.

Révolté par les atrocités infligées aux femmes et aux enfants par les guerres, Salif dénonce de manière véhémente la guerre et la violence dans le monde.

  1. “Tonton”: It is about the love between an older man and a younger woman, a relationship in which there can be both passion and a touch of irony. Salif asserts that it is actions, not words, that distinguish people from each other.

Chanson au sujet de l’amour entre un homme mûr et une femme plus jeune, une relation imprégnée à la fois de passion et d’une certaine ironie. Salif déclare que les gens se distinguent les uns des autres par leurs actions et non leurs paroles.

  1. “Itarafo”: the story of a woman who was pressured to get rid of her child before settling into a new household but who never yielded to pressure. Salif is joined by the powerhouse of Angélique Kidjo and the young Franco-African rapper MHD.

L’histoire d’une maman que l’entourage obligeait à se défaire de son enfant pour intégrer son nouveau ménage et qui a vaillamment tenu tête. Salif se fait accompagner par la dynamique Angélique Kidjo et le jeune rappeur franco-africain MHD.

  1. “Diawara Fa”: Salif sings about a friend and his generous gift: a six-seater plane for his frequent travels. Salif is joined in this song by Nigerian star Yemi Alade.

Salif chante un ami et le généreux cadeau qu’il lui a fait: un avion de six places pour ses déplacements fréquents. Salif est appuyé ici par la célèbre Yemi Alade du Nigéria.

  1. “Bah Poulo”: Salif says: “I find beauty in the true story of a Fula woman, who because of me, learnt to speak the Maninka language. I sing for her in Maninka language.”

Salif dit: “Je chante la belle histoire authentique d’une femme peule qui a appris à parler le Maninka, à cause de moi. Je chante pour elle en maninka.”

  1. “Tiranké”: The mother of mothers” is the story of a woman who brought many children into this world but died before they could grow up. Her children, who have now become successful, asked Salif to sing about her.

“La maman des mamans” est l’histoire d’une femme qui a mis au monde beaucoup d’enfants mais qui est morte sans les voir grandir. Ayant prospéré dans la vie, ses enfants ont demandé à Salif de lui dédier une chanson.

  1. “Lerou Lerou”: a song evoking Salif Keïta’s long musical journey and an expression of deep gratitude for those who helped him along the way.

Une chanson qui évoque son long parcours musical et exprime sa profonde gratitude envers ceux qui l’ont soutenu des années durant.

  1. “Gnamale”: This is a traditional hunters’ saying: “A boa snake swallowing a porcupine, Oh, what a calamity!” As the son of a master hunter, Salif is paying tribute to the Mande hunters lore. In this song, he is joined by the iconic Ladysmith Black Mambazo, uttering Zulu chants as he sings the names of several Malian master hunters, while reminding us of the magic power or nyama infused in spoken words.

Ceci est un adage des chasseurs: “Le boa qui avale un porc-épic, oh, quelle calamité!” En tant que fils d’un maître-chasseur, Salif Keïta fait un clin d’oeil au folklore des chasseurs mandingues. Le groupe légendaire Ladysmith Black Mambazo entonne des incantations zouloues pendant que Salif chante les noms de grands chasseurs maliens tout en évoquant la magie ou nyama de la parole.

  1. “Mansa Fo la”: Reggae song in praise to Almighty God for His blessings, along with a warning to the religious leaders who misuse His name. It is a warning to the latter that God is watching them. Salif is joined by the very popular Ivorian reggaeman, Alpha Blondy.

Chanson reggae louant le Tout-Puissant Créateur pour ses multiples bienfaits, de même qu’un avertissement aux chefs religieux qui abusent de son nom. Gare à eux, dit-il, car Dieu les voit! Salif collabore ici avec le célèbre reggaeman ivoirien, Alpha Blondy.

Produced by Salif Keita

Recorded at Studio Moffou Bamako, engineered by Abou Cisse

Vocal, brass and keyboard overdubs recorded at Bois et Charbon, Vitry-sur-Seine in June / July 2017, engineered by Philippe Brun.

Keyboard overdubs performed and recorded by Jean-Philippe Rykiel July 2017

Vocal overdubs and Yemi Alade session recorded at Studio Ferber July 2018, engineered by Jean Lamoot

Final Mix at Studio Ferber, Paris July 2018, by Jean Lamoot and Salif Keita, assisted by Abou Cisse

 

All songs composed by Salif Keita, published by Mande Mansa Editions adm. 22D Music, except:

Itarafo composed by Salif Keita, Angelique Kidjo and MHD, published by Mande Mansa Editions adm. 22D Music, Edition Aye, Artside Publishing, Warner Chappell Music France, Nenso Publishing

 

Personnel:

Salif Keita: Lead vocals and Acoustic Guitar (all tracks except 10)

Aminata Dante: Backing vocals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9)

Bah Kouyate: Backing vocals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9)

Paco Sery: Drums (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8)

Alune Wade: Bass (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8)

Djessou Mory Kante: Lead & Rhythm Guitar (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8)

Herve Samb: Lead & Rhythm Guitar (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8)

Molobaly Kone: Percussion (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8)

Mamadou Diabate: Kora (1, 3, 5, 6 and 8)

Harouna Samake: Kamale N’Goni: (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8)

Cheick Tidiane Seck: Keyboards (2, 3, and 5)

Jean-Philippe Rykiel: Additional keyboards (2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8)

Julia Sarr: Backing vocals (2, 4, 6, and 8)

Olyza Zamati: Backing vocals (2, 4, 6 and 8)

Jean-Marc Reyno: Backing vocals (6)

Nicolas Guéret: Tenor Sax and Horn Arrangements (2, 3, and 4)

Eric Mula: Trumpet & Flugelhorn (2, 3, and 4)

Philippe Henry: Trombone (2, 3, and 4)

Souleymane Kouyate: Djelli N’goni (7 and 9)

Djelimady Tounkara: Rhythm Guitar (9)

Mama Sissoko: N’goni Bass (9)

Fasiri Diabate: Balafon (5 and 9)

Alhassane Soumano: Rhythm Guitar (1)

Arnold Koman: Bass (10)

Loba Brice Stephane: Lead & Rhythm Guitar (10)

Jean Lamoot: bass programming (9) and programming (2)

Abou Cisse: additional sampling, programming

I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all the musicians who participated to make this album, first and foremost the musicians of my regular band and friends in Bamako who helped to make this a reality: Djessou-Mory Kante, Mamadou Diabate, Harouna Samake, Molobaly Kone, Bah Kouyate, Aminata Dante, Souleymane Kouyate, Alhassane Soumano, Djelimady Tounkara, Mama Sissoko, Fasiri Diabate, Arnold Koman and Loba Brice Stephane.

To my brother Paco Sery who came to Bamako with the young Senegalese lions Alune Wade and Herve Samb to lay the foundations for almost all the songs on the album – what a powerful rhythm section!

to my favourite sister Angelique Kidjo for making a magnificent contribution to Itarafo, and for realizing our long-awaited collaboration.

to my new young sister from Nigeria Yemi Alade who made such a beautiful contribution to Diawara Fa, I wish to you all the success in your future career

to my son from Guinea, MHD, loved what you did on the song, and great to be collaborating with you finally!

to my South African brothers Ladysmith Black Mambazo, thank you for your beautiful interpretation of my homage to the warriors of Africa

to my dear brother Alpha Blondy for helping make our first recording collaboration a supremely beautiful one

to my brothers Cheick Tidiane Seck and Jean-Philippe Rykiel for embellishing several key tracks with your magic hands

to Julia Sarr, Olyza Zamati and later Jean-Marc Reyno adding final touches to key songs

to the horn section  Nicolas Guéret (tenor sax and arrangements), Eric Mula (trumpet / flugelhorn) and Philippe Henry (trombone)

to Jean Lamoot for your magic in your approach and execution of the mix

and especially to Abou Cisse who worked with me through the long process of completing the album, recorded all the songs and contributed to the mixing: thank you my son, we have come a long way together!

to Romain Vivien and Patrick Schuster and the team at Believe Digital for coming on board this project at a crucial time

to Laurent Bizot for helping us put the deal together

Since this is my last album, I would also to take the opportunity to thank a number of people who helped and worked with me during my career:

To all the various music & arts journalists, radio presenters and music programmers who have supported my career and my music around the world: Mali & the African continent, France & Europe, US & Canada, South America, Japan etc.

Daniel Richard

Fela Ransome-Kuti

Mamadou Konte

Ibrahim Sylla

Christian Mousset

Patrick Lebesse

Philippe Cohen-Solal

Kante Manfila

Toumani Diabate

Doumbe Djengue

MMP Cape Town – Steve Gordon

Graca Machel

Valerie Malot / 3D Family

Sekou Toure

Chris Blackwell

Christophe Meyer

Christian Pegand

Maitre Schmidt

Philippe Brun

Djelly Moussa Kouyate

Ousmane Kouyate

Philippe Luciat-Labry

Mbongeni Ngema

Nelson Mandela Foundation

Selam Sweden – Teshome / Johan

Manu Dibango

Jumbo Vanrenen

Hugh Masekela

Corinne Serres / Mad Minute Music

Pascal Bod

Stephane Kaczorowski

Kasse Mady

Mokhtar Samba

Tidiane Kone

Dr Stefan Oschmann

Abdel Al-Malik

Anette Winther-Hansen

Joe Zawinul

Wayne Shorter

Fracois Breant

Yann Olliver

Carlos Santana

Vernon Reid

Guy N’sangue

Etienne Mbappe

Esperanza Spalding

And many others too numerous to mention ….