A Malian's Musings about Music and Mali…
Currently Browsing: Cuban

“Al Vaiven de Mi Carreta” by Afrocubism

Afrocubanismo was a term coined in 1920s Cuba to describe a movement that worked to recognize and promote the Cuban historical link to Africa.  Its focus on “Black Culture” resulted in a far-reaching impact on Cuban literature, poetry, painting, and of course music.  At the heart of the movement, was an expression of the struggle for Cuba’s independence from Spain, slavery and the quest for a national identity.  90 years after its first shout, Afrocubanismo echoes on with “Al Vaiven de Mi Carreta”.

When the Cuban and Malian legends got together to record for the first time, producer Nick Gold from World Circuit Records described it best: “It was as though the musicians had been holding back their ideas and energy for that moment… The group had never played together before but the music just poured out and it continued to flow…”.

As for Cuban and African instruments sounding good together, no surprises there, I suspect they were meant to be together in the first place.

Viva Cuba…..et Vive le Mali.


Cuba: Eliades Ochoa, Osnel Odit, Virgilio Valdes, Jorge Maturell, Jose Angel Martinez, Eglis Ochoa

Mali: Toumani Diabate, Kasse Mady Diabate, Bassekou Kouyate, Lassana Diabate, Djelimady Tounkara, Baba Sissoko

Title: Al Vaiven de mi Carreta / Album: AfroCubism (2010)

Listen on Apple Music

“Paulette” by Balla et ses Balladins

“Balla est ses Balladins” was Guinea’s first major musical group of the post colonial era.  Like many of their West African contemporaries, they were sponsored by their country’s government in the 1960s as a means of promoting culture through art in a newly independent country.

The band’s leader Balla Onivogui died in March 2011 at the age of 75, before J Cole brought his music back to life a couple of months later with his summer hit “Can’t Get Enough”, which extensively samples vocals and guitar riffs from “Paulette”.

Although “Paulette” sticks to its African roots by employing almost exclusively native instruments, you can feel a distinctively Cuban influence in its cadence, vocal arrangements and guitar work.


Title: Paulette / Artist: Balla et ses Balladins / Album: Objectif Perfection, 1980

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