One of the aspects that makes Malian popular music so compelling is the unique blend of Western and traditional instruments, like kora, balafon and ngoni. One of the lesser-known, but no less important instruments, is the njarka: a small, one-stringed violin, made from a gourd and stringed with the tail-hair of a horse.
Brehima “Youro” Cisse is a master of the njarka, and currently touring with Malian bluesman Mamadou Kelly, as part of his band Ban Kai Na. Youro was faced with unusual dilemma last week, when the one string of his njarka snapped and he needed to find a replacement.
Luckily, the band’s manager Christopher A Nolan swung into action, contacting a Hudson Valley neighbor with a nearby horse farm. A visit was arranged, and Maggie the Pony was kind enough to donate a tail hair or two for the cause. The results were a success.
Maggie: 1 Guitar Center: 0
Mamadou Kelly and Ban Kai Na Remaining Tour Dates:
- July 27 Joe’s Pub, Manhattan NY
- July 29 BSP, Kingston NY
- Aug 5 Kennedy Center, Washington DC
- Aug 6 Balliceaux, Richmond VA
- Aug 7 Bossa Bistro, Washington DC
- Aug 10 Union Pool, Brooklyn NY
- Aug 12 Half Moon, Hudson NY
Listen to Djamila:
Photos: Christopher Nolan
Text courtesy of Tom Pryor