Quoted from Soft Secrets Magazine Issue 3, 2011:
DJ Shakra & Mandjou Kone – ‘Wamian’ (DJ Shakra Maian Mix) – (Garden House Records)
Released on 12” vinyl, this latest project from San Francisco based Garden House Records is destined to inspire and uplift the dance floors across both clubs and festivals this summer and beyond. A collaboration with Malian singer Mandjou Kone and master percussionist Ben Issacs; co-written, produced and arranged by David Jenkins; the song is dedicated to Mandjou’s great great great grandfather who was the “Michael Jackson of Mali”. Wamian reportedly lived till he was over 120 years old.
Mandjou Kone was born and raised in West Africa in the countries of Mali and Burkina Faso. She was born into the Kone’s, a well-known Griot family. The Griot people of West Africa are world renowned for their unique ability to record events carefully and accurately, passing history from one generation to the other. One cannot learn to become a Griot; rather one is born into it, along with the responsibility to preserve the culture.
As a young girl, Mandjou assisted her Griot father in keeping his band alive by singing, dancing and playing instruments like the Djembe, Bala, Dundun, Kora and Tama. She also danced and performed with the National Ballet of Burkina Faso. With her brothers group Surutukunu, Mandjou toured Europe extensively as lead singer; she was then invited to come to the United States to help translating a documentary about the last 40 years of her family’s musical tradition and history. The film, entitled “Great Great Great Grandparents’ Music” went on to win several awards from the Pan-African movie world.
A propelling and deliciously deep acid bass line, aided by deftly shaped electronica, flows naturally and effortlessly with traditional percussion such as the Balaphone creating shimmering waves of rhythm. The potently beautiful voice of Mandjou blows sure wind to the sails. Whilst it may not be possible, for some ears at least, to understand exactly her words, the essence of this compelling and remarkable African past reverberates throughout the song triggering powerful visual images and a feeling of happiness and harmony.
Including two monster remixes by B. Smiley and DJ Majitope along with a dub mix from DJ Shakra, this is a sonic connection to our archaic phuture!