Music from the Continent

Toofan is a Togolese music group. It is composed of FANTOHOU Kossi Juste called MASTER JUST, MENSAH Blaise called BARABAS. Their first album was balances by l’ appearance of their first album entitles “EPERVIER OGBRAGADA ” in 2005. This album became the anthem of victory of the national team of football of Togo (Hawks) as they qualified to the World Cup in 2006. For academic reasons, ALL ONE left the group shortly after. Their second album called “CONFIRMATION” iwas released in Lome in 2006. Their third album, Carte de Visite, was released in 2009. They are on the Metiss Soul record label.

A kora is built from a large calabash cut in half and covered with cow skin to make a resonator, and has a notched bridge. The sound of a kora resembles that of a harp, though when played in the traditional style, it bears a closer resemblance to flamenco and delta blues guitar techniques. The player uses only the thumb and index finger of both hands to pluck the strings in polyrhythmic patterns (using the remaining fingers to secure the instrument by holding the hand posts on either side of the strings). Ostinato riffs (“Kumbengo”) and improvised solo runs (“Birimintingo”) are played at the same time by skilled players. Kora players have traditionally come from griot families (also from the Mandinka nationalities) who are traditional historians, genealogists and storytellers who pass their skills on to their descendants. The instrument is played in Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso and The Gambia. A traditional kora player is called a Jali, similar to a ‘bard’ or oral historian. Most West African musicians prefer the term ‘jali’ to ‘griot’, which is the French word.

Viviane Ndour (born Viviane Chidid) is a Senegalese pop singer who is the former sister-in-law of Youssou N’Dour. She is known by some as the “Queen of Mbalax.” Viviane was born in Senegal in one of the coastal cities near the Atlantic Ocean. Her music combines traditional Senegalese mbalax music with elements of U.S. rap and R&B. She released her first album in 1999 and formed a group called Le Jolof Band in 2001. Most of her songs are in either English or Wolof though a few are in French, the official language of Senegal. She is Muslim.


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