I had a major moral dilemma making this episode. Originally, I was going to do an episode on just Mali. I have been a fan of Bassekou Kouyate since 2013, and was going to play his band, Tinariwen, and Salif Keita (another prominent Malian musician). As I wrote the episode, I realized it was ridiculous. I was playing only three artists, and most of what I was going to end up playing was Bassekou Kouyate. I remembered a few nights earlier I was having dinner at my friend Jackson’s house. I asked him if he had any musical suggestions from his country (he is from the central-eastern African nation of Rwanda). He didn’t have anything, but instead offered me a number of Nigerian musicians. I enjoyed them a lot, and took note. When I hit the roadblock in my Mali episode then, I decided to look more at the Nigerian music. From there, I decided to expand to all of West Africa. Now comes my issue; I can not stand the clumping together of all of Africa. Too many people will just lump all of Africa together into one people, when they really are not.
While I do understand the importance of pan-Africanism and uniting, these ethnic groups did develop for a reason, and it is important that they are each celebrated separately. Perhaps I am being a bit too harsh on myself. I did make a point to mention each nation in the region. However, I also played not one, not two, but THREE songs from Mali. My bias has shown! I will be honest, part of my bias comes from football (soccer). As a fan of FC Barcelona, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Mali, as Malian midfielder Seydou Keita turned out for the club from like, 2008 to 2012. He was always one of my favorite players. In a midfield of the greatest ever pairing ever (Xavi and Iniesta), backed by Sergio Busquets, Keita always managed to get the job done. I need to try and not divulge so far in these blog posts. I’ll leave the links at the bottom as always, thanks for reading!