Solomane Doumbia

It was in January 2020 that Solomane Doumbia composed and recorded the tracks for the album "Ségou to Lagos" in Bamako. The recordings took place at night, Solo would take his guitar and start playing riffs. Then he would go to the computer to compose the beats that would have been interpreted and enriched by Malian musicians directed by Solo.

Solo is one of those great artists who made the golden age of Malian music and until his retirement from the international scene in 2013, he was considered one of the greatest percussionists in Africa. Life has not always been easy for Solo, like for many other great musicians, but his brilliant musical intuition has never failed him: every time Solo picks up an instrument, sings or dances, a singular light shines on him.

For a long time, he was Salif Keita’s percussionist and arranger on some of his albums. He has accompanied him on all his tours, from his beginnings in Abidjan where they met until 2013.

Solomane Doumbia comes from a family of musicians who left the Wasulu region (Mali) for Bamako in the early 1960s. They spent more than five years on the road before reaching the capital of Bamako, as the balafonist father and his two singer wives had to take part in all the cultural ceremonies in the various villages along the way! When they arrived in Bamako, they settled in Baco-Djikoroni. It was there that Solo began to learn the instrument with his father and older brothers and by the age of 15, Solomane was already a formidable instrumentalist! He stayed in Bamako until the early 1980s when he decided to join his older brother Madou Fakoly Doumbia, also a great musician, in Abidjan. This was at the time the route for all Mandengue musicians who wanted to make an international career. It was here that the friendship story of Salif Keita and Solomane Doumbia began.

This opus "Ségou to Lagos" is above all a tribute to another great artist, Tidiani Koné. Like Solo, the work and life of the great Tidiani Koné are little known to the general public, but it was he who first built a bridge between the music of Mali and Nigeria and who inspired and arranged the rhythms that made up Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat.

Solomane Doumbia owes part of his inspiration to Tidiani Koné and this album, this tribute, retraces the route of Afrobeat and brings it back to his other homeland, the present-day Mali.