(Alpha Ousmane) “Hama” Sankaré
Clermont Music Hama Sankare: Ballébé - Calling All Africans (ML,2017)***°
The first track catches attention immediately with it louder produced groovy electronic music beats and rhythms mixed with warm African song singing, mixed with some subtle traditional instrument sounds to it, in a continuation but also modernisation of the previous 70s based electronic music examples from African origin that were produced abroad mostly. The second track is rockier. The third track has an Afro-beat association with a rock element. The fourth track is rockier and heavier, with a complexity in rhythm section, while the track after that is based on a fundament of acoustic pickings. Of course some of the desert blues associations are recognisable too, typical for and popular from its region of Mali, but without exaggeration or blandly repeated ideas on these tracks. The bluesy aspect is a bit clearer after that, more specifically on the 5th track. A different electric blues aspect is mixed in the track thereafter, a rather relaxed song, with more echoing slides in the background and good rhythmical full range of contrasting production. Track 7 uses repetition in rhythm, creates and electric/rhythmic loop with electrified voice front singing and group singers responses. Track 8 again uses heavier beating rhythm, mixed with traditional pickings, electric groove bass and upfront singing, and later electric arrangements. It’s loaded with well-mixed rhythm. The tenth track is a bit more relaxed but is produced with the same care of layers and contrasts.
The last two tracks are like bonus tracks as a gift to the listeners. We have one instrumental which put to the fore the way of production in which to dig well and which in this case reveals a hypnotic live feel, jamming a bit further with its elements. The last track is a radio edit for which they chose an edited version of "Haar Alhawa" the track with its backing slides that smoothest well with the rest of the wobbling song, its electric pickings and groovy rhythm.
The Calling-out Africans message I guess is a mixture of African mostly electric styles that are being loved to be heard in the Mali region, but that can reach a more wide and world appreciation easily.
The remix from track one and 8 were done by Los Angeles based David Harrow (electronics). Other participants are the electric slide guitar by Cindy Cashdollar, African electric guitarist Oumar Konate, bass player Sekou Toure, drummer Mahalmadane Traore, and traditional music artists “Yoro” Cissé on djourkel and Bouba Cissao on different African stringed instruments.
Hamz Ousmane is actually called Alpha Ousmane “Hama” Sankaré. He played before with local artists like Ali Farka Toure, Afei Bocoum, le Troupe Regionale de Niafunké, l’Orchestre de Gao, Songhoy Allstars and NanKalNa, but it took until this album until he had a real first studio album on is own name. It’s a nicely produced album, which put him more rightfully onto the market as an invitation to get to see him or invite him to play live.