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Balani Show Mixtape

Sound Travels was a dance party last weekend.

High energy music from a country I'd swear I was from if my birth certificate didn't already say "Milwaukee."

Not sure if it's a past life thing, but Malian music of every stripe holds a high place in my taste and some of the newest stuff on that scene is pretty mean.

Balani Show is a sound distinctly Malian and is the focus of the Sound Travels Mixtape.

In Mali, it used to be de rigeur to have a balfon player as the music for the party. A balafon is a sort of xylophone that has wooden keys for striking and gourds for resonance that originated in Mali in the 14th century. In fact, "balafon" literally means "to play an instrument" in the Manding language of Mali. So, to say it's the national instrument is a bit understating.

These days, the cost of getting a proper player is prohibitive, especially for street parties in places like Bamako, the country's capital. This fact has led to innovation. In the 90's, with electronic devices and an overall rise in understanding production and DJ techniques, urban culture began changing the tradition.

DJs brought large sound systems and cassettes of pre-recorded music -- both traditional Balafon music, as well as Kuduro and Coupé Decalé. As cassettes were replaced with CDs, DJs began to incorporate their own remixes.

Today, "Balani Show" continues to evolve. The parties have spawned an entirely new genre of music known as "Balani Show" or "Ambience," composed by bedroom DJs, remixers, rappers, and dance groups, creating high energy dance music.

This is a mix of some of those young artists. It's the Balani Show Mixtape...


Production Manager | Radio Milwaukee