Recently the owner of the (highly recommended) Malian Divas channel on YouTube asked me why I have never posted any music by the third (see below) of those magic Malian divas of the 1980s: Ami Koita.
I admit I did not have a good answer, apart from that I just haven't got round to her.
But perhaps there is another, subconscious reason for my omission. I have met Ami Koita, when she visited the Netherlands in 1991.
On the LolaRadio blog you can find recordings made during this trip by VPRO Radio (and a few days later she also performed in "Reiziger in de muziek" on VPRO TV).
Both Ami Koita and her daughter, who backed her mother in the chorus, were very friendly. But it was impossible to talk to Ami more than a minute as her husband (on the left, holding a camera with which he videoed his wife's every move) was constantly making his presence known. And not only by standing in the background, but also by answering questions for his wife and physically putting himself between his wife and whoever wanted to talk to her.
I later found out that this was the result of an extreme case of jealousy, and several rumours have gone 'round in Mali as to the (possible) grounds for this jealousy.
One way or another, this has perhaps played a role in my apprecation of Ms. Koita.
Getting back to her being the third: the other two of what was like the 'holy trinity' in Malian divaness in the 1980s were of course Kandia Kouyaté and Tata Bambo Kouyaté. And that reminds me that I should be digging up some more of those two in the near future.
Anyway, I would like to share with you this cassette recorded in the late 1970s. The quality of the cassette is dubious, to say the least. And I have tried to remove the extreme hiss*.
But I love the music. Ami Koita's rendition of the classic "Tara" is up there with the very best. And Nene Daou and Lassana Sacko have probably donated their life savings after being immortalised by Ami.
S4307 cassette or S4307 (speed adjusted - see below)
And as a further illustration of Ami Koita's talent I would like to share with you this first part of a programme entitled "L'Artiste et Sa Musique" featuring Ami Koita "& son ensemble". And this ensemble consists of two great accompagnateurs: Moriba Koita and Bouba Sacko (see my earlier post). The show is presented by Zoumana Yoro Traoré, whom you may remember from the videos I posted by Kandia Kouyaté and Coumba Sidibé. I will post the remaining part of this programme at a later date. Ami is interpreting "Djeliya", a kind of metadata song, a song about griotism. Compared to Tata Bambo's song with the same title, which I have posted four years ago, you will have to agree that Ami's song is more delicate. Both her interpretation and appearance do justice to her reputation as the djeli with finesse.
P.S.: More to follow before the end of the year....
EDIT December 30, 2012: Ngoni has pointed out (see comments) that there may be a problem with the speed of this cassette. I have slowed down the recording to the speed he suggests, and it does sound better. So I have added a link to the slower version.
* And in case there is any demand for the 'raw' sound of the untampered original, send me an email.