Anansy Cissé: Fati Ka (taken from the album Mali Overdrive) by World Music Network published on 2014/03/17 05:26:04 +0000 Anansy Cissé’s souped-up guitar distortions re-work the West African Desert Blues genre with a new, agitated attitude. Featuring the soku fiddle playing of Zoumana Tereta and accompanied by ngoni, bass and calabash, Cissé’s sound harnesses musical traditions and spits it out anew, taking us into Mali Overdrive. For further information, please visit www.worldmusic.net/anansycisse When Cissé’s recording ‘Bala’ landed on our website via World Music Network’s online ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition, we were immediately taken by his gutsy guitar style that plays on tradition by matching it with the direct influence of 1960s and 1970s psychedelic-flavoured rock and roll. The story begins in late 2012, when Anansy was forced to dismantle the recording studio he ran in Diré following the invasion of Mali’s northern regions by militant Islamists, many of whom are opposed to secular music-making. His poignant track ‘Gonmi’ calls for peace across Mali and is a reminder of the despair felt by many at the concerning political divisions and connected social reverberations caused by religious tension in the Northern region. Forced to relocate further south, Anansy headed to the beating heart of Mali’s capital city and is now resident blues bad-boy in Bamako. In Bamako Anansy met Philippe Sanmiguel who is now his percussionist and manager. Anansy soon called on a few more friends to add to the musical pot: esteemed ngoni player Djimé Sissoko laid down some riffs, Abdramane Touré took to the bass and Mahalmadane Traoré found time to slap and smack his calabash. Presently Anansy lives in the Faladié district of Bamako and consistently and is steadily working on more material. In the corners of his house, vast towering piles of old-school vinyl peer down on visiting musicians providing a clue to Anansy’s inspirations: The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd and CSN&Y are all represented. His close appreciation of rock music is heard distinctly via the anthemic guitar riff of the track ‘Fati Ni Koye’. Equal stimulation for his songs, text and rhythm is drawn from traditional Fulani and Songhai music. ‘Sekou Amadou’ pays tribute to the leader and founder of the Fulani Empire of Macina. ‘Horey’ is a takamba song from Gao and Timbuktu. The rhythm is historically linked to the Songhai nobility but electrified and re-energised in Anansy’s version. In the often polarised world music community, young African musicians are often either too hastily dismissed as local pop stars who have no international appeal or as authentic saviours in a misplaced quest for authenticity. Now, proudly ramping up the volume and fearlessly taking Malian music into rock overdrive is Anansy Cissé – a pioneer of new music that champions ancient tradition and uncharted modernity at once.