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Oumar Konate & Sarmust at Tropicalia
October 5, 2014 @ 8:00 pm
While still in primary school in his hometown of Gao, Oumar Konaté touched the spirit of his classmates with passion for music and song. On the strength of his talent with an old bucket, helmet, and drum, Konaté performed nightly outside the family’s front door conducting his first band. While still in high school, he accompanied the Orchestra of Gao on their national tour.
Oumar Konaté went on to enroll at the prestigious National Institute of Arts in Bamako. He recorded his first album « Lahidou » (« The Oath » ; video link below). That recording brought him to the attention of many well-known African artists. Konaté has accompanied several of those Malian artists: Vieux Farka Toure, Kounkako Sata, Roberto Magic, Alpha Diakité, Sidi Touré, Khaira Arby, Leila Gobi. He is a featured player on many recordings including Sidi Toure’s hailed 2011 album « Koima », and Leila Gobi’s 2010 « Menaka » for which he also composed the arrangements.
In 2008 Oumar Konaté performed at the National Biennale in Kayes, Mali as guitarist and arranger for the National Institute’s orchestra. In 2009, he represented Mali at the UNESCO festival in Gambia. That same year, Konaté received his Diploma from the Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres where he has continued as a teacher.
In the summer of 2010, Oumar Konaté was invited to perform at the Mali Voices Festival in Sweden. In 2011 he was asked by band leader Boncana Maiga to be guitarist and arranger for « Tounkagouna », a monthly musical variety program broadcast on several television networks : CFI, ORTM, TV5, etc. In January 2012, Konaté appeared at the Festival au Desert – Essakane in Timbuktu, Mali. In that same year he toured throughout the US and Canada with Khaira Arby and her band. Konaté then followed up with a solo US tour in 2012 playing at NY’s Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival receiving a rave reception. In November 2013 Konaté toured Europe with Vieux Farka Toure.
Oumar Konaté currently lives in Bamako Mali with his family, his wife and a newborn son. His next album, Addoh, is scheduled for release May 2014 on the Clermont label. North American tours are scheduled for 2014.
Sarmust: Sarmust, a Washington DC based Indie rock band is the brainchild of songwriter Omar Pitras Waqar, it explores a mixture between Dancey Proto-punk, and traditional music and poetry from different parts of the world (Caribbean, Middle-Eastern, South-Asian, African) borrowing from the mystically inspired yet secular Bollywood musical style of Filmi Qawwali. It attempts to create a new sound that is rooted in separation but ultimately about activism. The lyrics of the songs toy with Sufi notions of love, while still pounding the rebellious beat of dissent.
The guitars use ambient sounds like reverb and delay, and some times overdrive and octafuzz, the low end is filled up by keys with a rhodes bass sound, the top end of the keys tends to drone and sound like the vibraphone on an old Mehdi Hassan record. The drum beats come from every corner of the earth and lay the foundation for groove explorations.
The word Sarmust ( سرمست ) comes from the Urdu language and can be loosely translated as “mystic” or “one whose head is full of ecstasy “