mali blue : soft pastels on pastel paper (300x220)

...catching up on music, I was given a Lobi Traoré disc for Christmas. Sounds sweet!

9 comments:

steve said...

Wow Ian--thoroughly impressed! Music can be this inspirin indeed.

Caroline said...

What a brilliant portrait!

Johnnynorms said...

Excellent portrait, and one I hadn't heard of - Mali is incredibly rich for great musicians.

ian russell said...

thanks, it turned out better than anticipated. first time using pastel paper which I found strangely unyielding - it makes you work those chalks - and the pastels themselves were more expensive than the ones I'd previously played with and tougher as a result. I'm learning more about media and it less puzzling why the art shop packs so much different stuff. paper and chalk ain't just paper and chalk...

ian russell said...

yes it seems Mali is the Manchester of Africa, John. I don't know why - could be because of its proximity to the west. I think, when you imagine african music, percussion and strings, rhythms and melodies, it's the music you hear from these guys.

and yes, no surprise - where can you hear it on a casual basis? it bugs me that we've got our collective heads stuck up our own arses where music's concerned. why is that? every radio station playing the same limited music as every other radio station.

I mean, it's like going into different national art galleries and only finding Jack Vettriano prints and 500 portraits of the same two highland terriers on a biscuit tin lid. It would be ridiculous - but with music somehow it's okay.

Johnnynorms said...

A musical acquaitance did a stint in Mali as a VSO (something to do with sanitation) and the village had one guitar with the original strings replaced by brake cables - he got new strings for them and they all loved him. The icing on the cake was that Ali Farke Toure happened by, and played some numbers on the guitar (for beer).

I so agree with you on the ubiquitous bland sameness of radio. It's long been a personal pet hate and I'm in danger of filling up your comments box with a gigantic rant...
If the whole of music is a great big iceberg, we get to hear one little icecube's worth on these shows. Sometimes it feels like the world of sound around us is filling up with grey goo.

ian russell said...

brake cables! that's like the story of one of the old blues guys - I saw it on Martin Scorsese's documentary, I think it was Son House - how he got into music because his grandfather would cut old tyre inner tubes into strips and stretch them, nailing the ends to a barn door - to make a sort of bass, I would imagine.

A few years ago there was a great series on TV - African Rock&Roll - did you see it? It tried to cover the whole of africa, musically. Amazing in some of the poorest parts the sort of things they'd use to fabricate musical instruments.

Lauren Kate said...

Wow, this guy has GREAT eyes! Lovely portrait.

ian russell said...

thanks lauren. i was attracted to his smile - he looks very content, almost smug with it, but he has just recorded a neat album so why wouldn't he?