Thrill Jockey Records is proud to present Koïma, the second full-length album by Malian songwriter and guitarist Sidi Touré. Sidi’s music comes from Gao, a city in the north of Mali, and draws inspiration from traditional music and religion, but is informed by western blues, rock, and culture. The winner of two Malian national awards for best singer, Sidi was leader of Gao’s regional orchestra, The Songhaï Stars, and is a nationally renowned figure in his home country. In 2011, Sidi released Sahel Folk, his debut album for Thrill Jockey, and toured North America for the first time. This tour took him to prestigious venues and festivals, including New York’s Lincoln Center, Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, and the Chicago World Music Festival. Through Thrill Jockey’s introduction of Sidi to new audiences, he is beginning to achieve well-deserved success and critical acclaim abroad.
Koïma is the natural progression from Sahel Folk, as Sidi has moved from an album of duets, recorded all in one take in his sister’s home in Gao, to a quintet recorded in a studio in Bamako. With Koïma, the intent is to record a different side of Songhaï music from the sparse style captured on Sahel Folk. The music is still distinctly Gao, but represented this time in a much richer and luxuriant way. We move from the intimacy of a quiet meeting between friends to the celebration of an evening of dance. On Koïma, Sidi is able to more fully realize his vision for his music.
The album title Koïma literally means "go hear." Koïma is an emblematic place of Gao, "a Dune with his feet in the waters of the river Niger, and with his head touching the sky," says Sidi. In Malian folklore, Koïma is the meeting place for the most powerful wizards of the world. This album is an offering to the mystical power of that place. Koïma is out April 17th.
Listen to the track “Tondi Karaa,” which translates to “The White Stone.” This song refers to a legendary stone that sat in the center of Gao for 500 years, a symbol of purity and prosperity, that, in the 1970s, went missing. Sidi sings of how misfortunate has befallen Gao ever since, and the missing stone represents how individuality and money have damaged the unity of the Songhaï culture.
1. Ni See Ay Ga Done
3. Aïy Faadji
4. Woy Tiladio
6. Ishi Tanmaha
7. A Chacun Sa Chance
8. Kalay Makoï
9. Tondi Karaa