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Ben Zabo: Ben Zabo - Hilfe
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Ben Zabo - Ben Zabo

Cover von Ben Zabo
Ben Zabo
Ben Zabo

Label Glitterbeat
Erstveröffentlichung 25.05.2012
Format CD
Lieferzeit 4 – 7 Werktage
Preis 9,75 € (inkl. 19% MwSt. zzgl. Versand)
Rezension

Nach Tamikrest beschert uns Chris Eckman ein weiteres von ihm gemixtes und produziertes bislang unbekanntes Juwel aus Mali, das Debut von Ben Zabo samt ausgezeichneter Band. Ein für die heutige Musik aus dem Land ungewöhnliches (aber durchaus manchen Mali-Bands der 70er/80er oder z.B. auch den offensivsten Sachen der Super Rail Band in den 90ern vergleichbares): Voll elektrischer Afro-Sound unter deutlicher Einbeziehung von Funk- und Rock-Einflüssen, kraftvoll, treibend in hohen Tempi, ein mitreißender polyrhythmischer Groove (der freilich genau wie die Melodien traditionelle Quellen seines Volkes, der Bwa, benutzt) durchzieht fast alle Stücke, phasenweise hypnotisch und euphorisierend (großartig z.B. die tricky 2. Hälfte von Cinquantenaire!). Ausnahme ist das etwas ruhigere in Teilen beinahe hymnische Dimiyan (mit 8 Minuten längster Song), das leichte Blues- und Pop-Anleihen enthält. Neben dem (z.T. mehrstimmigen/Chor-unterstützten) Gesang (inklusive ein paar richtig eingängiger Refrains) stehen diese so typisch westafrikanischen wunderbaren Gitarren im Vordergrund, quirlig, spiralig kreisend, repetitiv, stechend, funky, riffend, rasant mäandernd, auch rockig oder (1x) bluesig, exzellente kurze Soli in jedem Track. Ein Sax ist meist beteiligt, doch eher punktuell, steuert einige attraktive Melodien/Motive bei, sporadisch auch kurze expressive quasi „vokalisierte“ Soli, hier und da kommt ein optimal integriertes sowohl rhythmisch wie melodisch gestaltendes Balafon hinzu, in 2 Songs grundiert apart Eckmans Orgel. Ein klasse Album, textlich/inhaltlich liberal und offen, ein Ausbund an Lebensfreude. Das 180 Gramm Vinyl kommt mit Bonus-CD. (dvd)

Review

Much of the Malian music that has been released on European and American labels in the last few years shares one thing: it is mostly down tempo and reflective. The kora majesty of Toumani Diabate, the Songhi blues of the late Ali Farka Toure, the singer-songwriter tropes of Rokia Traore and the dusted, acoustic meditations of Tinariwen (on their most recent album) are a demonstration of this point. Even the later albums of the once exuberant Salif Keita have grown more melancholy and ethereal.The music of Ben Zabo is a clear break from this quietude. His music is a string of firecrackers igniting on the dance floor of a midnight party. It is a music that has been perfected in the loud, sweaty, open-air clubs that line the outskirts of Bamako, places where the competition to get heard is fierce, and the chances of moving upward and outward are next to none.When I first came across Ben’s music it seemed unlike any contemporary Malian music that I had heard. Its direct physicality, its polyrhythmic complexity and its raw but focused energy set it apart. But as I dug more into Mali’s musical past, I realized there are antecedents for the music Ben and his band create.In the 70’s and 80’s, like in much of Africa, musicians in Mali were creating a powerful, and at times edgy musical fusion that brought together traditional rhythms and chants with the urban (and often western) sounds of the fast growing cities. Electric guitars and James Brown motifs stood side by side with age-old storytelling. It was a music made out of a complex dialogue: the village reaching to the city and the city reaching to the village. And while it would be too simplistic to gather all such music under one name, due to Fela Kuti’s pan-continental influence and his coinage of the term, much of this music came to be known as Afro-beat.In Mali, during that fertile time, artists like Moussa Doumbia, Le Super Djata Band du Mali, Super Biton de Segou, and Sory Bamba and his many groups (especially L’Orchestre Kanaga de Mopti) were articulate, original purveyors of this cutting-edge musical experiment.Just to satisfy my own curiosity, I once asked Ben Zabo if he had ever listened to Afro-beat and its Malian offshoots. His face lit up and his answer was quick and to the point. “I have listened to too much Afro-beat!” he said, grinning. He went on to acknowledge the deep debt he felt towards the musicians (of all stripes) that have come before him.On another occasion Ben proudly told me that his Malian “Afro-beat” forbearers Super Biton de Segou and L’Orchestre Kanaga de Mopti, had both incorporated the unique Bwa rhythms from Ben’s own minority ethnic group, the Bo people, into some of their classic songs, even though those artists were from a different ethnic background.With the release of Ben Zabo’s self-titled album an older tradition is renewed and an uncharted path begins. Mali’s Afro-beat past is fused with the pulse of Bamako in the new millennium and the rarely heard sounds from the Bo musical culture.This album is the first album ever to be released by a Malian of Bo descent.Because of this, Ben routinely refers to him and his band as “musical warriors.” In this chaotic and often indifferent world, they are fighting to have their voices heard, their rhythms felt and their cultural legacy recognized. They are funky, charismatic and committed. They are not going to give up easily.Bwa power has arrived.//Chris Eckman

Tracklisting
01 Wari Vo
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> 02 Sènsènbo (Hommage à Dounaké Koita)
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> 03 Danna
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> 04 Dimiyan
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> 05 Cinquantenaire
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> 06 Bwa Iri
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> 07 Ya Be Ma`e