4 Songs, 15 Minutes


About Boncana Maïga

With his insightful and imaginative gift for arranging, Boncana Maïga has played an important role in the contemporary music of Mali. The leader and saxophone player for Le Negro Band De Gao during the early '60s, he switched to transverse flute during nine years spent studying world music in Havana, Cuba. While in Cuba, he played Cuban music with Las Maravillas De Mali. Returning to Mali in 1974, he continued to work with Las Maravillas, who changed their name to National Badema. After moving to Abidjian, Cote d' Ívoire, in the late '70s, he began to devote his attention to arranging material for other performers. He soon acquired a reputation as one of Africa's top arrangers, working with such leading African performers as Alpha Blondy, Abdoulaye Diabate, and Omar Pene & Super Diamono. In 1992, Maïga joined with West African record company owner and producer Ibrahima Sylla to form Africando, an Afro-fusion band featuring a New York rhythm section and West Senegalese vocalists Pape Seck, Medoune Diallo, and Nicholas Menheim. In 1997, Maïga received a prestigious Kora Award (the African equivelent to the Grammy) as Best Arranger. ~ Craig Harris

Gao, Mali