may not be a familiar name to you. Yet, Idrissa, born
in 1949, has some credentials to show. As a teenager, he entered the Bamako Arts college
(INA, Institut National des Arts
), and subsequently, he went to the UK where he studied as
the first non-blind francophone African in musicography in braille and the Royal College, and
graduated as a teacher of visual handicapped children at the University of Birmingham.
Back in Mali, he went into teaching, and during 18 years he worked at the National Youth Blind
Institute (IJA, Institut des jeunes aveugles
), the last three years as the director of that
institute. He is still working for the Ministry of Education in Bamako.
Musically speaking, Idrissa is a composer and singer and he plays guitar, piano and kamalen n'goni.
He has been the chef d'orchestre
of the Ambassadeurs du Motel
has been the lead singer before he left Mali. In 1969,
he has penned one of the most famous Malian songs, Ancien combattant
, that has been recorded
by other artists from Côte d'Ivoire and Congo to such an extent that few still know that
this song is actually from Mali.
Towards the end of the 20th century, Idrissa Soumaoro has been performing at VIP soirées in various
hotels in Bamako, together with his ensemble Les Compagnons
. In 2003, it was about time that his
first album « Kotè »
finally is put on the market,
offering a view on his talents, with a mixture of blues and Malian rhythms. Apart from a remake of
« Ancien combattant »
, there is a freshness
and an original acoustic approach through the use of Hawaiian guitar, harmonium, accordion, as well as
flute, kamalen n'goni and percussion instruments.
In 2010, he released another album
« Djitoumou »
, with Ali Farka Touré
featuring on the song « Bčrčbčrč »
, a song that would
become famous as part of the soundtrack of the movie Black Panther.
By the way, his son Sidi Soumaoro (Ramses) is part of hip hop band Tata Pound