Watch Mali street party DJ Sandji mix live and download his mixtape for free


A couple of months ago we spoke with Sahel Sounds boss Chris Kirkley after watching an incredible performance from Niger guitarist Mdou Moctar in London last year.

He’s just offered this mixtape from Bamako’s Balani Show innovator, DJ Sandji. Bassy balafon cutups and decale rhythms from Mali’s street party scene, with added drums from the on the fly remixes with sampler. Kirkley has already released a pretty amazing LP Balani Super Show Hits: Electro Street Parties From Mali which is well worth checking out.

The remix music played at Balani Show defies nomenclature – he’s still not sure what to call it, and neither are the DJs. Sandji plays a combination of Malian pop music, Coupé Décalé, Hip Hop, Kuduro, and Naija Pop. If there is any difference in the past years, it’s that the Balani Show is getting faster. Music is regularly pitched up – Kuduro can clock in at 170bpm. Most of the songs are remixed, either with the addition of drums, or cut up on the computer.

DJ Sandji recently put together a mixtape – 100% Balani Show – of songs making the rounds through the Balani Shows, mixed and cut up, and with enough whistles and handclaps to keep the neighborhood moving. Download if for free on bandcamp or grab it on limited cassette at the Sahel Sounds shop.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.