08/10/2019: “Bamako” by Songhoy Blues

The story behind Songhoy Blues isn’t particularly heartwarming. They were formed because they are exiles from the north of Mali, where a jihadist group took over in 2012 and banned music.

The name is from “Songhoy” – their ethnic group, and “desert blues”, the type of music they play.

“Bamako” is a full on funk song. The band were inspired by 60s Western guitar music themselves, owing a large debt to psychedelic rock. Nonetheless, layered funky guitars and horns have a particularly African rhythm to them.

The track does feel very modern, it’s true. This isn’t 70s afrobeat; this is new funk from Mali. The drums have some pace to them, cementing the song’s energy at a high level, but it’s the guitars which really get things moving.

The track was released in 2017, and is from the album Resistance.