Somewhere in the North West of our motherland, a country is sandwitched in between Niger and Mauritania. In this Country,the national drink is sweet tea and it’s served three times from the same pot. The first cup is “strong as death”, the second “mild as life” and the third “sweet as love”. A fourth cup means you are no longer welcome. In this country, there is music rich in culture and heritage. This Country was once called Ghana and Sudan(Soudan). This is the Country of the great Mansa Musa. This Country is Mali. And in this great Country, artists are working harder than anywhere else just so they can break and cross boarders. So here we are, children of Africa, to pay tribute to the music of Mali, eventually.
It has been such a long time without our spotlight articles; All Around Africa. We have been probing, listening and scrutinizing so many artists just to find the right one to start off our year. And what better place to find great musicians than Mali? If it’s true that Salt comes form the North, gold from the South but the word of God and the treasures of wisdom come from Timbuktu, then great music comes from Iba One!
When I got on YouTube to check what Mali has to offer in terms of music, I first clicked on Allah Be Mali Fai and like the Malian tea, I replayed it 3 times, for fear of being unwelcomed should I risk replaying it for the fourth time bruh. Since the Mask festival is nearing come 2027, I can’t afford missing it. So I have to be on the good sides of Mali. That songs deserves an Oscar, instead of Lupita. I have barely ever seen a composition that nice. The Millitary Band just made everything else fall into place and complete an artistic masterpiece. The Kora played Sidiki Diabaté, is more alluring than a thigh parade on the Red Light districts. If music was a woman, I’d get hitched to this song. I’m just saying.
Dondo Tèmèna queued up next and got me glued for another 4 minutes and 22 seconds.
Who is this Iba One?
A look at his website tells us that Ibrahim Sissoko aka IBA ONE was born in 1989 to a piano-loving Mother who played him renditions of the then popular African musicians like Miriam Makeba, Dalida, Claude François, Enrico Macias, Salif Keita, Siramory Diabaté or Ami Koita. Growing up in the N’tomikorobougou neighborhood, the experiences and strength to overcome this rage to succeed and a hard work of its own! All these helped mould his social commitments and humanist vision as witnessed in his music.
Iba has been putting in lots of work over the years. He has been making music for as long as 1999, garnering many a fans over the duration and guess what, hard work surely gets rewarded. Judging by the foreign shows he has been getting lately as well as his music finally making it to the Urban Chats like Trace. Tell me that is not greatness? It is time we delved deeper into the Countries like Mali which are exploding with immense talent and showcase the hard works of this young African youths. If we don’t appreciate our homegrown, how will we ever bring the Grammys home? In the next couple of weeks, we will be sharing more music from around Africa, music you’ve never heard before music so good you will rethink listening to American pop anymore. How about we start off by some Iba One?