Mam­man Sani - ‘Un­re­leased Tapes 1981 - 1984’

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - TICKET STUBS - Donal Di­neen

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.

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