Back to Musiques d'Afrique Frank Bessem's
Musiques d'Afrique:

Idrissa Soumaoro
  Musiques d'Afrique
Musiques du Mali

Idrissa Soumaoro may not be a familiar name to you. Yet, Idrissa, already in his fifties, has some credentials to show. As a teenager, he entered the Bamako Arts college (INA, Institut National des Arts), and subsequently, he went to the UK where he studied as the first non-blind francophone African in musicography in braille and the Royal College, and graduated as a teacher of visual handicapped children at the University of Birmingham.
Back in Mali, he went into teaching, and during 18 years he worked at the National Youth Blind Institute (IJA, Institut des jeunes aveugles), the last three years as the director of that institute. He is still working for the Ministry of Education in Bamako.

Musically speaking, Idrissa is a composer and singer and he plays guitar, piano and kamalen n'goni. He has been the chef d'orchestre of the Ambassadeurs du Motel, where Salif Keita has been the lead singer before he left Mali. In 1969, he has penned one of the most famous Malian songs, Ancien combattant, that has been recorded by other artists from Côte d'Ivoire and Congo to such an extent that few still know that this song is actually from Mali.
In recent years, Idrissa Soumaoro has been performing at VIP soirées in various hotels in Bamako, together with his ensemble Les Compagnons. In 2003, it was about time that his first album finally is put on the market, offering a view on his talents, with a mixture of blues and Malian rhythms. Apart from a remake of Ancien Combattant, there is a freshness and an original acoustic approach through the use of hawai guitar, harmonium, accordeon, as well as flute, kamalen n'goni and percussion instruments.

By the way, his son Sidi Soumaoro (Ramses) is part of hip hop band Tata Pound.

Born: 1949 in Ouéléssébougou
Style: semi traditional music/ Mali blues.

Musicians on "Kote":
Adama Coulibaly, Boubacar Gakou "Babouya" and many others
Mamou Sidibé, Ramata Diakité backing vocals
Idrissa Soumaoro with his kamalen n'goni


Title Year Label Remarks
Djitoumou 2010 Lusafrica
Köte 2003 Wrasse Records WRASS 101 European CD release
Kotè 2003 Syllart African cassette release

Back to Frank Bessem's Musiques du Mali

Copyright © 1997-2010 Frank Bessem