Swine Hall


Music to Speak of
Eric Porcher



Issa Bagayogo's CD, Timbuktu

He's from Mali, and his high-energy African rhythms get me out of my chair.  He authoritatively presents a window to the musical ancestors of much of the current blues, R&B, funk and hip hop that we are familiar with, yet he updates these musical roots with his unique, masterful, danceable style.  Kind of an Oliver Mtukudzi on steroids. 

For weeks, I've had no understanding of the lyrics and language this man is singing, but it's enough that the sound of his voice and his music has given me energy and makes me feel good. 


Be assured, I'm not down on Oliver Mtukudzi. 
I have his CD, Paivepo and love it
and the CD, Tuku Music.  Beautiful stuff.
See my Oliver Mtukudzi pics from his concert
at Folkfest Victoria, 2005.

Now that I go there, and see Hassan Hakmoun,
I'm dreaming of (warning: silliness following) an African version of
Crosby Stills Nash and Young.

Hakmoun Mtukudzi Bagayogo.

Alright, maybe add Hawaii's (God rest his soul) Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

Could have been good.  Just hard to pronounce.


Okay then.


So, which tracks, you ask?  Where to begin with this Timbuktu CD, if you could only hear a few tracks?

There's an online player for song samples, and more info at Six Degrees Records:

Look for the     under Timbuktu, on the left.  You won't get the player if you don't click on the speaker at that page.


Track 5, Timbuktu, feels like blues, but (again, before understanding the lyrics) seems not to come from a place of misfortune as blues often does.  There's some kind of soulfulness akin to 'American' Blues, yet this African stuff somehow often seems to come from a place at least mid-cup;  life is okay.  There's even something in it for the Country person.

6, Dambalou   Turn on your subwoofer, and don't sit down.  Reminds me of Martyn Bennett.  The dance thing, overlaying tradition and culture.  And there's Afro-Celt suitability.

11, Tamagnoko,  see 5 above.

12, Dama   The end of the song is worth acquiring too.  It's not on the sampler.  (No, I wasn't paid to say this.)


Here's another source of online music samples, at E-Music.  They're 30-second samples, the same as at the Six Degrees link above, but the samples are a little different, and may be of a little better sound quality.  (Listening to the CDs here is preferable to the online clips, but, ya gotta start somewhere.)



If you like one track on this CD, you might like them all.  I did.  Talk about consistency and solid content.  Buy 'em all.  And for your little dog too.

Also check out, in the music sampler links above,



Issa Bagayogo's CD
track 3, Koroto. 

Okay, weeks later now, I've borrowed Tassoumakan, and am still lovin' this stuff.

There's some range between

track 5, Kanou,  soulful, warm and introspective, and,

track 7, Kalan Nege, for when you feel like getting out of your chair.


I found no nasty surprises or awkward or impossible mood changes in either of these two CDs.  My favourite is still Timbuktu, but I'll buy 'em both. 

Yves Wernert is a name I'll keep an eye on.  He's strongly influential in Timbuktu and Tassoumakan.  Bass, keyboards, programming, recording, mixing, producing.

Great guitars (including Mama Sissoko), funky beats, soul and devotion. Dark and bright, masculine and feminine.

Some other words I've seen used on the net to classify or describe Issa Bagayogo:
World, Afro-electric fusion, Techno, electronica, roots, dance, global, groove.

It's ancestral and modern.  He comes across sounding genuine, authoritative, balanced and sincere. 


What a great collaboration.

Yves Wernert reminds me of Mouth Music's Martin Swan, who applies modern technology and musical inspiration, combining ancient Celtic, African and other influences. 


How far is Mali, Africa, from Victoria, B.C., Canada, and what do these lyrics mean?  Neighbours we're not, but music seems so universal a language, that it makes instantaneous connection though the core of this old world.



I found some lyrics online.  Yes. 

This music still makes me feel good.


Excerpt from Timbuktu, from CD of same name:

(I think some spelling errors occurred in the translation.)

...Welcome to Timbuktu
Bagayoko Issa will go to Timbuktu, the holly city
Timbuktu the mysterious
Timbuktu, the multy ethnic groups city
Where people live in good terms
In Timbuktu, brotherhood, solidarity, and concord are the everyday life of people
I am going to Timbuktu





And finally, true to form,

I'll attempt to find an image on the walls here,

which might somehow relate to this inspiring and energizing music I'm hearing.


Here, across the earth from Africa,

at the construction of the 2003 Saanich Fair,

(a brotherhood of sorts)



The Local Fair


larger image coming











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Page created: March 9, 2006
Updated: April 11, 2006