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Archive for May, 2020

Mory Kante, R.I.P.

I know that AWAV is coming to look like an obituary page these days but when someone noteworthy passes away–worthy of note for me at least—I have to make mention of it. The latest is this great Guinean singer, who died today in Conakry at age 70 (not of Covid-19, though the pandemic’s travel restrictions did prevent him from traveling to France to seek treatment for a chronic condition). I was turned on to Mory Kante in the early ’90s by a friend, who made a play list cassette of his songs for me—for which I am eternally grateful to her—which I’ve listened to countless times—particularly in the car on trips (my wife is also a fan) plus at my wedding party. His best known hit was, of course, ‘Yé ké yé ké’. What a great, fantastic, totally excellent song!

I spent a week in Conakry in 2000. Great music scene there, with more music on the streets—from stores and cars—than other African cities I’ve visited.

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Idir, R.I.P.

Idir in Algiers, 2018 (credit here)

He died yesterday, at age 70 (not of Covid-19). Lots of people in my social media network are posting on him today, invariably linking to his beloved 1973 ballad A vava inouva. He was one of Algeria’s greatest singers—a Kabyle Brassens or Aznavour, as the slam poet-chanteur GCM put it in Le Monde. Al Jazeera English has a report on Idir’s life here. France 24 has videos of his career and music here, and a YouTube ‘best of’ playlist is here. Beautiful songs.

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