Mamman Sani - ‘Unreleased Tapes 1981 - 1984’
It’s only been a fortnight but already it’s time for part two of the Mamman Sani tale to be told. When last we spoke of him, it was in the context of miracles. and we remain in that supernatural area. It’s the place to be. Bonus territory. In the first half of the tale, I was referring to the wondrous charms of his 1978 debut record Musique Electronique de Niger which was serendipitously rescued from a Niamey library and given its first official release in 2013.
Good things came of that move. In artistic obscurity, Mamman Sani had still managed to forge a life in music for himself but strictly in the shadows. He was responsible for incidental music for TV and radio in Niger. His daily trade was plied in the background.
His true labour of love was a private affair. The music he made solo at home were electric dreams for his ears only. His explorations in sound involved a myriad of elements but his rendering of the tende drum rhythms of the Toumani tribes in warm electronic tones created beacons of sound for those seeking sonic shelter from the white noise storm.
For all Mamman’s good fortune in being discovered, we are still the lucky ones in this story. The unveiling of these precious reveries has been a revelation.
Deeper the story goes. Disappointment with his debut’s fortunes did not deter the great innovator. Unreleased Tapes is a collection of recordings made in the aftermath and he is on fire.
There is no upset here. The solo venture is expansive and easy on the ears. It’s so serene yet expressive of big terrain and huge vistas of emotional landscapes of sound. He works off his own scale. Everything flows outwards. Effortlessly.
There’s even a song. Beckett said don’t sing your song too soon. Sani heeds the call and delivers a Cascando. More miracles again.