(Super) Rail Band

The Rail Band has been created as the house band of the buffet of the train station in Bamako by Tidiani Koné, saxophonist and bandleader. Twice a week, the band played in the station's restaurant and was successful. Soon, the band was joined by a young singer Salif Keita (in 1970), and later by Mory Kante and guitar player Djelimady Tounkara. Mory Kanté played balafon and guitar but took over as a lead singer from Salif who was forced to leave, allegedly for being often late at concerts. Another lead singer of the mid-seventies was Makan Ganessy, who stopped his involvement in music entirely in 1976 as an act of religiousness and he even asked Radio Mali to destroy all his recordings.

Around 1975, the Rail Band went to Nigeria on tour, and recorded a couple of albums. From the beginning, the Rail Band combined the rumba and modern music styles with traditional Malian, mainly Bambara, music to a new electric Mandingo music and therefore the band has been very influential.
In the 1980s, Tidiani Kone and Mory Kante had left, but the Rail Band continued, with a West African tour. In 1990, the band, in the meantime renamed in Super Rail Band made a first step towards an international career.
After a first international release in 1985, a record deal with the French Indigo/Label Bleu in the 1990s turned out to be a good choice. Although the 1994 album wasn't quite as good, the « Mansa » album is a real gem. Despite the fact that they lost their link with the Malian railways, and thus their status as civil servants years ago, with singers like Damory Kouyaté and Samba Sissoko, the Super Rail Band showed a degree of continuity that was rarely seen among the old big orchestras in Mali. Their next album « Kongo Sigui » was released in May 2003, and a European tour from May to July 2003 gave way to more fame.

Created: 1970 in Bamako, Mali, as the Orchestre du Buffet de la Gare de Bamako
Style: electric Mandingo music

Super Rail Band
   Super Rail Band   

Musicians on the album Mansa (1996):
Kabiné Keita chef d'orchestre, saxophone
Djelimady Tounkara lead guitar, arranger
Mamadou Ouedraogo saxophone
Fotigui Keita bass
Ali Dembele rhythm guitar
Maguett Diop drums
Lassana Bagayogo, Bamba Dembele percussion
Damory Kouyaté, Samba Sissoko, Adama Fomba vocals
Mamani "Assitan" Keita, Kandé Djoubaté chorus

Title Year Label Remarks
Allo Bamako 2007  Oriki Music ORK002 RE, by Djelimady Tounkara & Super Rail Band International
Kongo Sigui 2003 Indigo LBLC 2581
Mansa 1996  Indigo LBLC 2520
Super Rail Band de Bamako/ Djougouya Magni 1994 Indigo LBLC 2500
New Dimensions in Rail Culture 1985 Globestyle ORB001
Affair social 1979 Sacodis LS25 L'Orchestre Super Rail Band International
Dioulou Koussoube 1979 Sacodis LS24 Mamadou Ouedraogo &
Orchestre Super Rail Band International
Albums by the Rail Band:
Belle époque vol.3: Dioba 2009 Stern's STCD3043-44 Compilation 2CD, feat. S.Keita, M.Kanté, Makan Ganessy et.al.
Belle époque vol.2: Mansa 2008 Stern's STCD3039-40 Compilation 2CD, feat. S.Keita, M.Kanté, Makan Ganessy
Belle époque vol.1: Soundiata 2007 Stern's STCD3033-34 Compilation 2CD, feat. Salif Keita & Mory Kanté
Classics Titles 2006 Cantos Compilation CD
Mory Kanté & Salif Keita 1999 Sono CDS CD, reissue of older recordings
Mory Kanté 1988 Syllart 38757-1 (SYL8378) LP, reissue of 1977 recordings
Salif Keita & Mory Kanté 1988 Syllart 38750-1 (SYL8357) LP, reissue of older recordings
Melodias "Rail Band" du Mali (Soundiata) 1976 Kouma KLP 1043 LP
Concert "Rail Band" du Mali 1976 Kouma KLP 1042 LP
Melodias Rail Band du Mali (Kankoun/Soyomba) 1976 Kouma KLP 1040 LP
Sunjata 1970 Bärenreiter-Musicaphon BM30L2606 (LP)

Page added June 2003