Sunday, July 3, 2016

Mali, West Africa Singers Ramata Diakité & Tata Diakité (music in Islamic West Africa)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides information about Islam in the West African nation of Mali. This post also provides information about the Malian singers Ramata Diakité and Tata Diakité and showcases three YouTube videos of each of these singers.

This is the second post in a continuing pancocojams series about music in Islamic Africa. Click the tab below for other posts in this series.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Ramata Diakité and Tata Diakité andfor their for musical legacies. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the publishers of these examples on YouTube.

"An estimated 90 percent of Malians are Muslim, mostly Sunni belonging to Maliki school of jurisprudence influenced with Sufism. Ahmadiyya and Shia minorities are also present.[2] Approximately 5 percent are Christian (about two-thirds Roman Catholic and one-third Protestant denominations); the remaining 5 percent of Malians adhere to indigenous or traditional animist beliefs.[3] Atheism and agnosticism are believed to be rare among Malians, most of whom practice their religion on a daily basis, although some are Deist.[4]

According to the 2005 U.S. Department of State’s annual report on religious freedom, Islam as traditionally practiced in Mali was characterized as moderate, tolerant, and adapted to local conditions.[4] Women were allowed to participate in social economical and political activities and generally do not wear veils.[4] According to the 2012 Pew Forum study The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity, 94% of Muslim in Mali surveyed believe that religion very important in their lives, and 71% believe there is "only one true way to understand Islam’s teachings" (24% believing that multiple interpretations of Islam are possible).[2]

The constitution establishes a secular state and provides for freedom of religion, and the government largely respects this right.[4] Relations between Muslims and practitioners of minority religious faiths are generally friendly, and foreign missionary groups (both Muslim and non-Muslim) are tolerated.[4]

Because of the 2012 application of Sharia law in northern parts of the country however, Mali was listed high (#7) in the Christian persecution index published by Open Doors which described the persecution in the north as severe.[5][6] In spite of this, a 2015 study estimated some 8,000 believers in Christ from a Muslim background in the country.[7]

Application of Sharia included banning of music, with groups showing up randomly in villages, armed with weaponry, to burn musical instruments and musical items. One guitarist was threatened that his fingers would be chopped off if he ever showed his face in one town again.[8] Other rules such as cutting off hands or feet of thieves, stoning of adulterers and public whipping of smokers, alcohol drinkers and women who are not properly dressed were also implemented.[8] However, the occupation and Sharia law were both short-lived, cut short by a French and Chadian military intervention that began in January 2013. See Northern Mali Conflict.

In 2012 several Islamic sites in Mali were destroyed or damaged by vigilante activists linked to Al Qaeda, claiming that "idol worship" characterized the sites.[9] Given the cultural and religious importance of the sites in the city of Timbuctu (Tomboctou), 8 of the shrines on the UNESCO heritage list had been fully reconstructed, and another 6 were in the process of reconstruction, by July 2015.[10]"

"Ramata "Rah" Diakité (Madina Diansa, Wassoulou, 1976 - Burkina Faso October 30, 2009) was a Malian Wassoulou woman musician.[1] She was the cousin of Tata Diakité, who also died young.[2]

Ramata was born in 1976. Although Ramata did not come from a family of traditional musicians, when she was about twelve, Ramata started humming to herself in secret, accompanying herself on a gourd. In Wassoulou (and other areas of Mali), music is usually created by those of a certain caste (jeli/griot), and it can be controversial for artists outside of these castes to perform. Salif Keita is likely the most prominent example of a non-musical-caste performer to confront and conquer adversity relating to these cultural restrictions.

Ramata's aunt, Djénéba Diakité, asked her to sing backing vocals on a cassette, which was the start of her musical career, even though Ramata's parents frowned on the idea. As a backing vocalist, Ramata's vocal potential was quickly spotted, and she gained concert experience thanks to trips to France and throughout Africa. She was soon called upon as a vocalist by many artists and arrangers, notably Samba Diallo, Yoro Diallo, and Tenin Sidibé.

In December 1995 she recorded her first cassette, Artistes, a bestseller in Mali in 1996. She gave many concerts and took part, along with Salif Keita, in a Mali evening at the Cité de la Musique in Paris in October 1997.

Ramata died on October 30, 2009 in Burkina Faso of complications related to a year-long battle with Hepatitis A."

Editor's Note: This is the only information online that I've found for Tata Diakité. Additional information is welcome.

From TATA DIAKITÉ DIED "in February 2003
"Victim of a traffic accident, there are two months, the Malian singer Tata Diakité eventually died January 24 at age 28, leaving behind three children and two albums.

During her* fight for survival, she has enjoyed the moral and financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the wife of the Malian president and her family.

Malian artists who had planned a benefit concert for the 25th day after her death, have nevertheless given to support her offspring."
* I corrected the pronoun given in this article.

Example #1: Ramata Diakite - Sigui

Tyrus Maximus, Uploaded on Jun 6, 2009

Ramata Diakité de Mali

Example #2: Ramata Diakite - Noumouya & Foula

chojiro22, Uploaded on Feb 26, 2010

Malian singer Ramata Diakite
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:

Michael Friedman, 2014
"Lovely video clip and musical performance !"

Allaye Dembele, 2014
"Le Mali on vous oubliera jamais ra on 'a perdu une grande voie ds la musique malienne" 

Mali is one you never forget ra one has lost a great way ds Malian music

Example #3: Ramata Diakité - Dunia -.mp4

ajc15, Published on Mar 9, 2015

Example #1: Tata Diakité - Kono kan bora - 1998.mp4

Published on Mar 10, 2015
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:

ami sankara, 2014
"Merci pour cette bonne musique unique en son genre. Rip

Thank you for this good music unique in its kind Rip [Rest in peace]

Mamadou Doukara, 2015
merci tata pour cette bonne musique que ton âme repose en paix

tata thank you for this great music that your soul rest in peace

Example #2: Tata Diakité - N'Tanan ni - Ben BD Compil Vol. 1.mp4

ajc15 Published on Mar 10, 2015

Example #3: Tata Diakité à Paris, feat. Aïchata Sidibé - Marakaw Donkan -.mp4

ajc15, Published on Mar 10, 2015

Tata Diakité à Paris, feat. Aïchata Sidibé - Marakaw Donkan -.mp4

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