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Super Rail Band
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Musiques du Mali

The Rail Band has been created as the house band of the buffet of the train station in Bamako by Tidiani Koné, saxophonist and bandleader. Twice a week, the band played in the station's restaurant and was successful. Soon, the band was joined by singer Salif Keita (in 1970), and later by Mory Kante and guitar player Djelimady Tounkara. Mory Kanté played balafon and guitar but took over as a lead singer from Salif who was forced to leave for being often late at concerts. Another lead singer of the mid seventies was Makan Ganessy, who stopped his involvement in music entirely in 1976 as an act of religiousness and he even asked Radio Mali to destroy all his recordings.

Around 1975, the Rail Band went to Nigeria on tour, and recorded a couple of albums. From the beginning, the Rail Band combined the rumba and modern music styles with traditional Malian, mainly bambara, music to a new electric mandingo music and therefore the band has been very influential.
In the 1980s, Tidiani Kone and Mory Kante had left, but the Rail Band continued, with a West African tour. In 1990, the band, in the meantime renamed in Super Rail Band made a first step towards an international career.
Super Rail Band
After a first international release in 1985, a record deal with the French Indigo/Label Bleu in the 1990s turned out to be a good choice. Although the 1994 album wasn't quite as good, the « Mansa » album is a real gem. With singers like Damory Kouyaté and Samba Sissoko, the Super Rail Band show continuity rarely seen among the old big orchestras in Mali, although they lost their link to the railways and thus their status as civil servants years ago.
Their latest album « Kongo Sigui » was released in May 2003, and a European tour from May to July 2003 will bring them more fame.

Musicians on the Mansa album (1996):
Kabiné Keita chef d'orchestre, saxophone;
Djelimady Tounkara lead guitar, arranger;
Mamadou Ouedraogo saxophone, Fotigui Keita bass, Ali Dembele rhythm guitar, Maguett Diop drums,
  Lassana Bagayogo percussion, Bamba Dembele percussion;
Damory Kouyaté, Samba Sissoko and Adama Fomba vocals;
Mamani "Assitan" Keita and Kandé Djoubaté chorus.

Created: 1970 in Bamako, Mali, as the Orchestre du Buffet de la Gare de Bamako.
Style: electric mandingo music.


Title Year Label Remarks
Albums of the Super Rail Band:
Allo Bamako 2007 Oriki Music ORK002 Djelimady Tounkara & Super Rail Band International
Kongo Sigui 2003 Indigo LBLC 2581
Mansa 1996 Indigo LBLC 2520
Super Rail Band de Bamako/ Djougouya Magni 1994 Indigo LBLC 2500
New Dimensions in Rail Culture 1985 Globestyle ORB001
Affair social 1980 Sacodis LS25 L'Orchestre Super Rail Band International
Dioulou Koussoube 1980 Sacodis LS24 Mamadou Ouedraogo & Orchestre Super Rail Band International
Albums of the Rail Band:
Belle époque vol.3: Dioba 2009 Stern's STCD3043-44 Compilation 2CD, feat. S.Keita, M.Kanté, Makan Ganessy
Belle époque vol.2: Mansa 2008 Stern's STCD3039-40 Compilation 2CD, feat. S.Keita, M.Kanté, Makan Ganessy
Belle époque vol.1: Soundiata 2007 Stern's STCD3033-34 Compilation 2CD, feat. Salif Keita & Mory Kanté
Classics Titles 2006 Cantos Compilation CD
Mory Kanté & Salif Keita 1999 Sono CDS Reissue of older recordings
Mory Kanté 1988 Syllart 38757-1 (SYL8378) Reissue of 1977 recordings
Salif Keita & Mory Kanté 1988 Syllart 38750-1 (SYL8357) Reissue of older recordings
Melodias "Rail Band" du Mali (Soundiata) 1976 Kouma KLP 1043
Concert "Rail Band" du Mali 1976 Kouma KLP 1042
Melodias Rail Band du Mali (Kankoun/Soyomba) 1976 Kouma KLP 1040
Sunjata 1970 Bärenreiter-Musicaphon BM30L2606

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