In celebration of Malian songwriter and guitarist Afel Bocoum’s forthcoming studio album Lindé—due September 4 via World Circuit Records and executive produced by Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) and Nick Gold (Buena Vista Social Club, Ali Farka Touré)—Afropop Worldwide is premiering Bocoum’s new single “Bombolo Liilo.” Stream the song HERE. Lindé is available for pre-order HERE.
Driven by an uptempo reggae beat, the song features the sweeping trombone of Skatalites veteran Vin Gordon as well as guitar from Garba Touré (Songhoy Blues) and kora from Madou Diabaté (brother of Toumani). Rising out this care-free joyful sound come lyrics that attempt to temper the dream of a European El Dorado, a land where the hope and desire of a million African youth can supposedly be fulfilled.
Afel explains, “The small percentage of people who manage to make it to Europe shouldn’t cry ‘victory!’ because there are still many problems left for them to overcome, including finding a place to live, a job to do and food to eat. They mustn’t forget that, from the moment they arrive, they’re subject to the laws of the receiving country. And then they have to learn how to communicate and deal with the climate. Add it all up and you’ll see that overall, there’s more loss than benefit, and finding that anticipated happiness is just a lottery. More often than not, you’re talking about a 1 in 100 chance of success.”
The track follows recent single “Penda Djiga,” with its new animated video featuring Bocoum travelling around surreal Malian landscapes, pursued by a dark presence. “I promised this song to my friend’s daughter, Penda,” explains Afel. “In the song, I explain that I was determined to go to Penda’s engagement party. But on the way there, I was stopped by some police and had an altercation with them, to the extent that they started to attack me, physically. Despite everything, I was able to continue as far as Kabala, and see her at the airport just before she left for Michigan in the U.S.A.”