New Internationalist


May 2010

Thanks to decades of some of the best music that Africa has to offer, Bamako Airport – the BKO of Dirtmusic’s début album – has become a thoroughfare for international travellers wanting to pay homage to the homeland of Ali Farka Touré, Toumani Diabaté, Oumou Sangaré and many more. For Dirtmusic (inspired by the Tim Winton novel), the attraction was the Malian capital’s Studio Bogolan – set up by Touré himself. It was to this hallowed space that Dirtmusic’s Chris Eckman, Chris Brokaw and Hugo Race took themselves in search of ambience, Tuareg band Tamikrest and the indefinable something that goes into the mix of BKO.

Given that the individual backgrounds of the Dirtmusic trio contain some of the most luminous of the first world’s independent music scene – Sonic Youth, Nick Cave and the Walkabouts included – BKO was always going to be an interesting meeting of minds. But what makes it really compelling is the meeting of its lean rocked-out blues with the sinuous structures provided by Malian guests who include members of Diabaté’s Symmetric Orchestra and Tartit’s singer Fadimata Walet Oumar. It’s a generous collision: opener ‘Black Gravity’ is a gruff thumper with a fillet of music donated by Tamikrest spliced in; Lobi Traoré’s guitars jam on ‘Bring It Home’ and Oumar’s vocals on ‘Desert Wind’ are memorable. There’s one jarring moment – a cover of the Velvet Underground’s ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ is just too jolly for words – but don’t let that put you off. And there’s a nice DVD documentary on a second disc, too.


This column was published in the May 2010 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on BKO

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

BKO Fact File
Product information Glitterhouse Records, GRCD 704 CD + DVD
Star rating4

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Music

All Music

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 432

New Internationalist Magazine issue 432
Issue 432

More articles from this issue

  • Iraq in pieces

    May 1, 2010

    Hadani Ditmars returns to a country where ongoing conflict underscores a humanitarian disaster.

  • Murderers, you are welcome!

    May 1, 2010

    Jean Baptiste Kayigamba, who lost most of his family in the Rwandan genocide, wonders why Britain and France are harbouring the major perpetrators and whether recent legal changes will make a difference.

  • Empire of the senses

    May 1, 2010

    In an Egypt where sexual feelings are kept buttoned up by religiosity, Yahia Lababidi observes an all-pervading sensuality that will not be denied.

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.