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New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:02 pm
by Djembe Webshop
There is a new CD aviable with recordings from Billy, Diarra, Fode and Ibro Konaté playing together. The CD is called "Hommage" and contains 11 tracks, recorded at the beginning of 2014 in Guinea.

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:58 am
by bubudi
thanks, well don't be shy, we like as much info as possible about new cds! would you be able to post a short sample track from the cd?

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:38 pm
by Djembe Webshop
That are the songs:

Sunu
Duba
Saa
Gbada
Tamala
Kukubela
Hommage
Bele Bele
Kurube Kurube
Sekou Touré
Egale

You will find the CD also in my shop. Thank you for your support.

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:46 pm
by michi
"Sekou Touré"?!

Wow… Not sure what to make of this. There is no way that I would name a rhythm after a guy who murdered his own citizens by the tens of thousands. I think the name may have been chosen in ignorance of the historical facts (or so I would hope).

Michi.

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:36 pm
by djembefeeling
michi wrote:"Sekou Touré"?! Wow… Not sure what to make of this. There is no way that I would name a rhythm after a guy who murdered his own citizens by the tens of thousands. I think the name may have been chosen in ignorance of the historical facts (or so I would hope).
Not so sure -- these guys are djembeplayers, and Seckou Toure did a lot for the music. Many people choose to recollect the good things and ignore the bad. You cannot believe how many people still celebrate Erich Honecker, Stalin or even Hitler...

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 6:01 pm
by e2c
it's the same with Malian singer Salif Keita. Sekou Toure honored him (gave him some kind of medal, iirc) and he *still* sings the praise song he wrote in response, even today. ("Mandjou".)

Mamady Keita also has some nice things to say about Toure in his book, re. his support of the drum/dance troupes, creation of the national ballet, etc.

I wish people would take a step back and be more balanced about this issue (in other words, openly acknowledge the evil things Toure did), but I fear it will continue to be divisive for a long, long time.

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 7:12 am
by michi
I suspect that, at least in many cases, the problem is ignorance. Some of the djembefolas I've learned from gave speeches about what a great man Sekou Touré was but, by the time he died, they were barely ten years old and probably entirely ignorant of what really happened. In fact, I suspect that the common man may well have missed most of the atrocities that went on. Touré didn't murder people openly and in public. Instead, they selectively and quietly disappeared into prisons they never emerged from.

Combine that with cases where Touré did something positive, such as sponsoring artists, plus a total lack of education (together with complete bias in the education that actually was a available), and you have a great recipe for a re-written history on your hands.

It's not reasonable to expect someone with only very limited access to education or access to only biased education to know better…

Still, it saddens me that, seemingly, a lot of Guinean people are ignorant of their own recent history.

Michi.

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:19 pm
by bubudi
some of the older djembefolaw remember events in toure's time. i heard of more than one occasion when some of toure's military men came around to beat up someone for not returning immediately after their ballet tour (never mind that they did return in a timely fashion and made no attempt to defect). those who were in fact guilty of anything including speaking badly of toure were reportedly collected by military police and never seen again.

however, the more important fact in this discussion is that a djembefola was a pretty lowly occupation prior to the ballets, mainly because it did not generate a reliable income. with the government funding and international success of the ballets, djembefolaw, dununfolaw, dancers and djelilou on tour became their equivalent of pop stars in the west. after a long period of being made to feel their culture was inferior under colonialism, toure promoted cultural pride. lastly, as misguided as toure's strategy was, and with all its cruelties and oppressiveness aside, he did have a vision of national unity in a country of well over 20 distinct ethnicities, and in some ways did achieve a relative unity considering that guinea is quite tolerant of all its religions, while a fair few neighbouring countries with muslim majorities are anything but tolerant of other religions. there is a proverb that when a cotton tree falls, it is higher than grass (i.e. once great, always great). seckou toure was the president who lead guinea into independence. he will always be celebrated by many, despite all his many faults, and not least by the artisans who owed their livelihood and fame to him.

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:34 am
by michi
Epizo once told me a story that, when he was a teenager, the minister for culture would send his Mercedes around to have Epizo picked up from school and driven to rehearsals. So, the pop star treatment definitely happened. And, thinking about Guinea in the sixties, it's hard to think of a more public statement of government support for a single person.

True, Touré did unite his country after a fashion. But, with estimates of around 50,000 people having been killed in concentration camps, and tens of thousands more having been forced into exile, I truly have to wonder whether there can be any justification for praising the man. To me, it doesn't matter how kind he may have been to artists considering how unkind he was to other citizens.

Of course, one can also lay the blame on the colonial system, which surely must bear some of the responsibility for the atrocities that Touré committed: without this system, and the French slash-and-burn policy when they were finally forced to depart, Guinea quite likely could have had a less radical political leadership.

Michi.

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:33 pm
by e2c
michi, I'm with you on this one.

More than one quarter of the population fled the country.

So yes, there were concentration camps, and those who were sent there to die. Sekou Toure was a cruel dictator who was trying to commit genocide.

All the "patron of the arts" schtick doesn't change that one iota, and it should never be allowed to obscure or excuse the human rights abuses committed by Toure and his henchmen. (Keeping in mind the fact that certain people in Germany during the 1930s-40s also fancied themselves as big patrons of the arts...)

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:03 am
by bubudi
hey don't get me wrong, i'm all for calling a spade a spade on the atrocities committed by that man and others under his dictatorship. but michi asked why the konate bros might dedicate a song to him. they are certainly not the first to do so. their father famoudou owed a lot to that man, and so do a great deal of artists, despite all the crimes he committed against many of his people. sure, you or i wouldn't celebrate such a man but in their culture it is customary to pay respect to one's benefactors (alive or dead) and also, the history of the region is full of atrocities in general. one would be pressed to find anything positive to say about toure's contemporaries, too. on another note, we haven't listened to the song. maybe they tell of his atrocities too? anything mentioned about this in the liner notes?

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:17 am
by michi
Bubudi,

yes, I hear you. I find it understandable too how it is possible for people to glorify someone despite their crimes. It's just that I'm disappointed at what I suspect may mostly be ignorance on those people's part, rather than denial. (And I didn't mean to imply that you were trying to justify Touré's crimes—my apologies if it came across that way.)

In general, an open democratic system that doesn't continuously re-write history and education are key to avoiding such errors. And, by and large, I'd say that Guinea has neither. So, in that sense, the "Sekou Touré" track is not a surprise.

Michi.

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:46 pm
by e2c
Very much agree with both of you fellas!

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:24 am
by djembefeeling
I was deep into reading Vera Flaigs dissertation on djembe drumming this week and couldn't help myself thinking about this debate on ethics while reading. Flaig outlines some categories that might help grasping this debate.
While all of us probably agree that Sekou Toure was a dictator who did many bad things (by the way: more than a quarter of the population fled the country, there where concentration camps, Toure tried to commit genocide? where do these numbers and information come from? never heard about accusations that severe...), Bubudi and I tried to point out that there are reasons for some to see the time under SeckouToure in a nostalgic way. Many former inhabitants of Eastern Germany do so, even though people where killed and supressed and the complete country was imprisoned for decades. Still, for many individuals it was the time of their live and they cling to the positive sides, even the educated ones (education doesn't really change that. the Nazis where particularly successful among university folks).
I think, those people have a right to their own perspective on their history.

That changes dramatically with representatives of the country. as a representative, you have to include the complete picture and weigh the factors in a rather objective way. As Flaig points out, the drummers in Guineas ballets where such representative and there are indications that Mamady and Famoudou still feel that way. But Famoudous sons? I don't think so. They do feel rather as entrepreneurs of the djembe than representatives of their country, I'd guess. And this track called Seckou Toure might be an indication of just that (even though we still don't know what the song is about).

Re: New CD by Konaté brothers - Hommage

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:56 am
by michi
djembefeeling wrote:While all of us probably agree that Sekou Toure was a dictator who did many bad things (by the way: more than a quarter of the population fled the country, there where concentration camps, Toure tried to commit genocide? where do these numbers and information come from? never heard about accusations that severe...)
The Wikipedia page cites a number of sources. I've read quite a few books about African history, and they all agree that he was a mass murderer. There are also the documents about Camp Boiro. (There was thread around here mentioning that.)
Bubudi and I tried to point out that there are reasons for some to see the time under SeckouToure in a nostalgic way. Many former inhabitants of Eastern Germany do so, even though people where killed and supressed and the complete country was imprisoned for decades. Still, for many individuals it was the time of their live and they cling to the positive sides, even the educated ones (education doesn't really change that. the Nazis where particularly successful among university folks).
I think, those people have a right to their own perspective on their history.
Sure, they do. Anyone is entitled to believe anything they choose about someone like Erich Honecker or Sekou Touré. Just as I am free to point out that, no matter what good these men did for some parts of the population, that doesn't diminish the magnitude of their crimes. To me, a right and a wrong do not cancel, especially not when it comes to mass murder.
As Flaig points out, the drummers in Guineas ballets where such representative and there are indications that Mamady and Famoudou still feel that way.
Yes. And a large part of it is ignorance, and maybe repression and denial. What would I do in their situation, being twenty years old, with essentially no education, poor as a church mouse, and being offered a chance at fame and international travel and a secure (if meagre) income? I would probably also think that the guy is nice.
But Famoudous sons? I don't think so. They do feel rather as entrepreneurs of the djembe than representatives of their country, I'd guess. And this track called Seckou Toure might be an indication of just that (even though we still don't know what the song is about).
I have no idea how Famoudou's sons feel. It's still disappointing to me though that this track appears on a CD with that title. Not that it's up to me to berate them. And I totally believe that it may well have happened because of ignorance rather than denial. If someone could show them what really went on back then, Famoudou's sons might well be aghast.

Cheers,

Michi.