Djembe & Mande Music Page/Review Section(last revision 02/11/99)
TITLE: ZAGAZOUGOU COUP ARTIST: LE ZAGAZOUGOU FORMAT: CD NUMBER: PIR 49-2 COMPANY: PIRANHA RECORDS
Le Zagazougou is a djembe/accordeon (that's right: accordeon) ensemble from the Ivory Coast (to be more specific, they are Dioula from the Dabakala region). It's kind of a family affair; the group is largely made up of 20 of the sons and nephews of the late Mamadou Ouattara, who was given an accordion by missionaries. It is just another example of African musicians taking a Western instrument and making music that is firmly grounded in African tradition and sensibility.
Le Zagazougou's music is festive and joyous though the joy is
generally bittersweet as they sing of life's difficulties or a lover's betrayal. Two songs in particular, Saya and Lolo Saraman, stand out for their poignant melodies and singing. The drummers, however, don't miss out on the fun as they percolate and frolick their way to fluid and beguiling interplay with the accordions. Although you won't hear the virtuoso soloing that Mamady Keita is renowned for, the drumming is always tasty and tasteful
This CD was released in 1993, but I have never heard it or the group mentioned on the Djembe List. Maybe it is time for some long overdue recognition for Le Zagazougou. Nothing pretentious here; just fine songs, fine singing and fine drumming and accordeon. It never fails to make my day.