[Mansa-l] Lyrics : "Diaraby/Jarabi"

Graeme Counsel graeme at radioafrica.com.au
Mon Aug 3 00:39:34 CDT 2015


Hi everyone,

 

I’ve been conducting research in the archives of Radio Television Guinee for a few years, and I have come across several recordings of Diaraby which predate the 1970 recording by Fanta Sacko. 

 

There is an instrumental recording from 1960, for example, by Ismaila Diabate, featuring two acoustic guitars, and orchestra versions (with lyrics) by the Syli Orchestre National (circa 1962, with Kerfala "Grand Papa" Diabaté on guitar), Bembeya Jazz (1963), Kebendo Jazz (“Diaraby” and “Kankan diaraby” - 1964), Orchestre de la Paillote (ca 1964), Orchestre du Jardin de Guinée (ca 1964), Les Amazones de Guinée (1968), Djoliba Jazz (1968 & 1970), Orchestre Militaire du Camp Elhadj Oumar (1968),  Orchestre Féminin de Mamou (1970), Palm Jazz (1970) and Loura Jazz (1970). Also, here is Manfila “Dabadou” Kanté’s interpretation on video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZCjMBp6DO4 from the 1980s. 

 

Upon listening to Fanta Sacko’s version, it is clearly derived from these earlier recordings. The melody is the same, though the lyrics need closer scrutiny to see if there is any relationship.

 

Diaraby has always struck me as a guitar-driven composition, perhaps composed on the acoustic guitar in much the same way that a song like Kaira developed in the post WW2 era as part of the “jamana kura” style. We can query whether it is a “women’s song”, too, given the number of Guinean men who sing it. In Guinea, the delineation between what are considered to be songs for men and songs for women is perhaps less stark than in Mali, given that it is more commonplace in Guinea for women to play the kora, the bolon and the ngoni, as per Kadé Diawara and her ensemble - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj2NUVbput4. The question here, though, is who wrote “Diaraby”. Fanta Sacko may well have written her own lyrics for the song, but the song and its (Guinean) lyrics was recorded much earlier than 1970. Let’s not forget the enormous impact of Guinean music on West Africa, on the development of a modern Malian style in particular, and remember that in the mid 1960s Guinea had one of the largest radio transmitters in West Africa. Was not Fanta Sacko inspired to compose “Kankan Jarabi”  after listening to Kouyaté Sory Kandia on the radio? Besides that, though, the song was recorded as early as 1960… and “Kankan” indicates the song’s likely origin, in Guinea.

 

There are over 8000 recordings of Guinean music that I digitised at the RTG. All will soon be available on the internet to listen to for free, hopefully by the end of the year, so then we will be able to hear these early versions of Diaraby and a lot more. I will keep MANSA members informed!

 

Best wishes from Australia.

 

Graeme

 

~ ~ ~ 

 

Dr Graeme Counsel

 

Subject coordinator, Lecturer, Tutor
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Faculty of VCA and MCM

School of Culture and Communication, Faculty of Arts

University of Melbourne

 

Secretary, African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific – www.afsaap.org.au <http://www.afsaap.org.au/>  



Radio Africa – www.radioafrica.com.au <http://www.radioafrica.com.au/>  

 

From: Lucy Duran [mailto:ld at soas.ac.uk] 
Sent: Monday, 3 August 2015 5:47 AM
To: Cherif Keita <ckeita at carleton.edu>
Cc: MANSA-L <Mansa-l at groups.txstate.edu>
Subject: Re: [Mansa-l] Lyrics : "Diaraby/Jarabi"

 

ps just to clarify - 

when I wrote 'No one ever credited her with having composed this song', I'm referring to Fanta Sacko, who did the first recording of the song in 1970  - not to Ami Koita who recorded her version in 1990 (it was a huge hit). Copyright ownership in Malian music is highly problematic! Too complex to even begin to discuss on email! The subject of another project I'm involved in,

best Lucy

 

On 2 August 2015 at 20:18, Lucy Duran <ld at soas.ac.uk <mailto:ld at soas.ac.uk> > wrote:

Dear all

there is a standard version - it's the one recorded by Fanta Sacko in 1970 9it's called 'Kankan Jarabi') for the Anthologie de la musique malienne, produced by the Ministry of Information on the German label Barenreiter Musicaphon. This is the version that Ami Koita sings, pretty much word for word, and that so many other artists have covered, including the late Amadou Ballake from Burkina. No one ever credited her with having composed this song, however - though when I interviewed Fanta Sacko in 1986 in Bamako, she provided very convincing musical evidence for having written it. The lyrics were transcribed beautifully on the sleeve notes of the Anthologie LP, by none other than Massa Makan Diabate, . It's about how Jarabi (passion) is an illness that no doctor can cure. This is one of many women's songs that I am currently writing about in a forthcoming book. 

Ali farka's 'Djaraby' doesn't have much musical or textual relation with the Fanta Sacko's version, except for the opening chord sequence, and the use of the word. 

best Lucy

 

On 2 August 2015 at 17:16, Cherif Keita <ckeita at carleton.edu <mailto:ckeita at carleton.edu> > wrote:

Bruce,

It appears that Ali Farka's version is a stripped down one. He only uses what could be the refrain in other longer versions. I vaguely remember versions that say: "if you claim that you are afraid of your father guarding the door, it means that you are not serious about love", ...etc. Is that what you have in mind? it could be interesting to do an inventory of the different versions and maybe come up with a standard  version. Best, Chérif Keita

 


  _____  


From: "Bruce Whitehouse" <brw208 at lehigh.edu <mailto:brw208 at lehigh.edu> >
To: "Cherif Keita" <ckeita at carleton.edu <mailto:ckeita at carleton.edu> >
Cc: "Herbert G. Braun" <herbert.braun at web.de <mailto:herbert.braun at web.de> >, Mansa-l at groups.txstate.edu <mailto:Mansa-l at groups.txstate.edu> 
Sent: Sunday, August 2, 2015 11:04:21 AM
Subject: Re: [Mansa-l] Lyrics : "Diaraby/Jarabi"

 

 

Thanks Cherif - I'm curious, do these lyrics appear in versions of "Diaraby/Djaraby" beyond Ali Farka's track on "Talking Timbuktu"? The version recorded by Ami Koita, for example (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiZ0WvIc1QY), has the same melody and refrain, but the verses are different. Is there a "standard" set of lyrics for this song, and if so do they match the Ali Farka version?

 

Bruce Whitehouse

Lehigh University

 

On Sun, Aug 2, 2015 at 11:34 AM, Cherif Keita <ckeita at carleton.edu <mailto:ckeita at carleton.edu> > wrote:

Typo: please read "ne dun bè élé fè".

 

Sent from my iPhone


On Jul 30, 2015, at 1:57 PM, Herbert G. Braun <herbert.braun at web.de <mailto:herbert.braun at web.de> > wrote:

 

Dear Mansadenw,

 

I am looking for the lyrics of Diaraby/Jarabi (in bambara language) sung by Ali Farka Touré on "Talking Timbuktu". I would be grateful for your help. Thanks in advance.

 

With kind regards, Hery

 

Herbert G. Braun
Parcusstraße 1
55116 MAINZ (Germany)
Phone: ++49-(0)6131-220591 <tel:%2B%2B49-%280%296131-220591> 
E-Mail: herbert.braun at web.de <mailto:herbert.braun at web.de> 

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-- 

Dr Lucy Durán

Music Department, SOAS, University of London

Thornhaugh Street

London WC1H 0XG

+4420 7898 4374 <tel:%2B4420%207898%204374> 

 

Senior Lecturer in African Music,
Undergraduate Admissions Tutor

www.growingintomusic.co.uk <http://www.growingintomusic.co.uk> 

 




-- 

Dr Lucy Durán

Music Department, SOAS, University of London

Thornhaugh Street

London WC1H 0XG

+4420 7898 4374

 

Senior Lecturer in African Music,
Undergraduate Admissions Tutor

www.growingintomusic.co.uk <http://www.growingintomusic.co.uk> 

 

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