An emphatic high-five to the European label Sing a Song Fighter (in partnership with Mississippi Records), for digging up this brilliant lost gem. In 1978, Malian musician Idrissa Soumaoro was leading a music school for the blind in the Malian capital of Bamako and, together with two of his students, cut this raw and blazing masterpiece of Afro-psych-funk — an lp entitled Le Tioko-Tioko. Dubbing his student band L’Eclipse (a duo that would later come to be known as Amadou & Mariam), the project coalesced in a beautiful and moving unison of teacher and pupil, creating as equals a sound that is fresh, vital, and wholly inspired. With its initial commercial release (German only), and gifted to Soumaoro’s students in Bamako, this record was essentially non-existent anywhere else – until now; finally available worldwide for the first time.
Below, dig the lp’s leadoff track, the nine-minute stunner “Fama Allah.” Booming right out of the gates of psych heaven with a fervent dose of organ and drums, the track soon slows down and waltzes into a gothic and hypnotic duet with acoustic guitar. As the members begin to glowingly chant in wondrous harmony, organs swirl with an electric guitar teasing its bite as the tune falls into a blissful groove. And then, about halfway through and without warning, the tempo picks up as the group fierce their way out into the ether. Straight fire — keeping you on your toes, and moving them too. words / c depasquale