Super Khoumeissa


Super Khoumeissa is a group of 6 musicians and 4 dancers from Gao, a city which is over 1,000 years old located on the banks of the Niger River in the North of Mali 320 km east of Timbuktu. Super Khoumeissa are the best representatives of the musical style known as Takamba. Takamba is the most widespread style in the areas of the North of Mali. It is both a musical structure and a dance. The group of musicians play traditional three stringed instruments known as the Tehardent or Ngoni which they amplify to both augment and distort the sound and the traditional gourd percussion instrument known as the Calabasse. This combination produces a dynamic sound that instantly captivates a crowd. The Takamba dance is includes graceful and subtle movements performed both seated and standing where the shoulders and arms sway with the flow of the songs.

The repetition and variation of the ngoni and the calabasse are layered to produce complex interactions and harmonics. The tunes and rhythmic structures of their music derive from traditional melodies whose lyrics recount tales of the heroic past, of love and of the life and history of the Sahara. Everyone in the North of Mali loves this folk based music and its rhythms have transferred into much of their contemporary music. It can be heard in the music of such groups and artists as Tinariwen, Khaira Arby, Tartit, Tamikrest and many more. Takamba is also one of the only musical styles which have crossed the cultural borders between the nomadic and sedentary people of the Sahara and the Sahel. Super Khoumeissa present a musical repertoire of songs of the Touareg and Songhoi in their dynamic and very graceful performances.

The members of the group on this recording are:
Zerena Maiga, vocal
Yacouba Toure, ngoni
Abourhamane Idrissa, ngoni
Salif Maiga, calabasse
Mahamar Almou, calabasse
Boubacar Izia, calabasse
Also an integral part of the group but not heard on the recordings are:
Abdoulaye Toure, dance
Salimata Haidara, dance
Tazouden Samake, dance
Zeinabou Maiga, dance

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