The Bamba Wassoulou Groove was founded in Bamako in 2012 by Bamaba Dembele, the percussionist and cofounder of Super Djata Band, Zani Diabate’s legandary band, the most eccentric and the funkiest guitar player of post-independence Malian music.
Alongside the Ambassadors of both Salif Keïta and the Super Rail Band, the Super Djata Band became very popular in the late 70’s and in the 80’s. Much closer to the Bambara & Wassoulou grooves and trances than the Malinke music – more melodic and “softer”-, mixed with blues, rock music and all the African American type of music from back then, revealed through the radio (James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Chuck Berry, BB King…). The Super Djata Band was extremely efficient at hotting up the dancefloor and was idolized by the young and popular public.
After Zani Diabate and several musicians died, the band dissolves, putting an end to a unique adventure in Mali’s wide-ranging landscape.
The Bamba Wassoulou Groove counts 7 musicians (3 guitars, bass, drums, percussion and 1 singer), both experienced and young talented musicians, who pick up the torch, updating and modernising a music which has not lost anything of both its strength and originality. Alternating between new and classic pieces from the Bambara repertoire, the band releases a huge and powerful energy while playing live.
Psychedelic and bluesy electric guitars, incredible and hypnotic solos, soulful voices,rhythmic, the Bamba Wassoulou Groove is boosting and reviving today’s music in Mali.
The color of the band’s music is first given by the two solo guitar players. Two rather different styles. Moussa Diabate started in the Super Rail Band alongside Djelimady Tounkara, the Mandigo guitar maestro, before joining Ballaké Sissoko’s ensemble and accompanying Bako Dagon and the greatest Malian griots. His style is characterized by a phrasing, a melodic invention, a rather bluesy sound, all developed in Gonifo Bourama and Yacouba. He is also the one who first plays solo in Bina, great Super Djata Band’s classic, here in a beautiful instrumental version.
Baïni Diabaté is more rock, closer to Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, even to Jimi Hendrix (he venerates him) or to guitar players from the west coast of the USA such as Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen from the Jefferson Airplane. He found both inspiration and style mainly in the great kamele ngoni players – whose instrument accompanies the Bambara traditional hunters’ trances. Flamboyant and lyrical, very free and always inspired, his solos in Farima, Lolo, Siguigniossonfdo or Fadegnacouma make the heat rise up and give an exhilarating dimension to his songs.
The singer, Ousmane Diakité, the youngest of the band with the bass player Ibrahim “Papus” Diombana, already has an amazing maturity. Of Griotic origin, he sang in weddings and traditional celebrations, then in clubs of the capital with reggae and rap bands before recently joining the BWG. His hoarse voice somewhat reminiscent of the southern soul singers’ (Wilson Pickett, Joe Tex, Otis Redding) works wonders on up-tempo tunes as well as on blues. It is his first experience in studio and he looked as comfortable there as on stage.
As for the rhythmic, it strongly holds the band together with a constant invention and an unusual energy. The young musicians, the bass player and the rhythmic guitar player Dramane Diarra team up with the experienced musicians, Maguett Diop, who has been Super Rail Band’s drummer for nearly two years, and Bamba Dembele, percussions and congas player. The latter, the founder of the Super Djata Band he created with Zani Diabate, had also been the percussionist of Boubacar Traoré and Super Rail Band, and has accompanied all the major musicians in Bamako. He is the music director of the band.