Bush Taxi Mali is a Sublime Frequencies compilation put together by Tucker Martine in 1998 who was travelling around Mali recording it. As per the norm for Sublime Frequencies, songs are grouped together to make a kind of musical collage and this can be a bit frustrating, just when you start getting in to a song you like it disappears. Likewise the booklets lack information and it seems like more effort could have been put into researching the artists they've used.
Malian music is so cool though, that Western African sound that is so simple yet effective, almost bluesy in sound. There's some good musicians in their own right spread out through the album, the vocals of the woman singing on Autorail for example, raw but beautiful. There's chants from the tribal Dogon region of the country, a place I've always wanted to visit and this album has the talent to transport your mind there. Not quite as good but certainly cheaper than a plane ticket!
There are oddities thrown in such as children singing, a goat bleating and car horns - it doesn't always work but I suppose it does add a bit of the Bush Taxi flare to it. Percussion is notably strong, whatever the music - the rythmic beating of small African drums being a joy to hear. I also like the use of local instruments not named on the album but I recognise it as a Xalam which is a sort of predecessor to the banjo.
This album is produced nicely and is definitely one of Sublime Frequencies better efforts, what's nice about it is that it spans across different music genres and regions of Mali, there's so much talent in the way of musicians in Mali though that it would be difficult to fail when making a compilation.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Morning in Djenne/Les Chavaux de Sunjata
2 Radio Bamako!
4 Fouta Djallon
6 Mopti Niger Walking
8 Kah Mohno (Dogon)
10 Deni Meba
11 Bambaran Wedding Celebration
12 Sanan Kovya
13 O Mansa Musa
14 Dogon Country at Night