Idrissa Soumaoro is one of the least heralded yet most valuable of Malian musicians. He was chef d'orchestre and keyboard player for one of Mali's legendary bands, Les Ambassadeurs Du Motel De Bamako, the band that made Salif Keita famous.
When he left Les Ambassadeurs, he became an innovator in the education of the visually impaired, teaching music for 18 years at IJA, the Institute for Blind Youth, where his star pupils were a guitarist named Amadou Bagayoko and a singer named Mariam Doumbia. You know them now as Amadou & Mariam.
Now 74 years old, Idrissa has released his first solo album in 13 years, called Diré, and it's a beauty. You'll hear a track from it this week on Global A Go-Go, plus one from a rare, now reissued, recording of Idrissa's band at the IJA that included Amadou & Mariam.
Also this week (Sunday October 1, 1:00-3:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards at wrir.org/listen, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): New throat singing from Mongolia's Batsükh Dorj, María Raquel revives Colombia's big band porro sound of the 50s, the unadorned Congolese guitar of Vumbi Dekula, and the latest in Afrobeat from Alpacas Collective, The Blassics and Eparapo.