JazzTimes is honored to present the premiere of “Daouda Sane” by guitarist Leni Stern, one of eight tracks that will appear on her upcoming album Dance, which is scheduled for release on June 4 via Leni Stern Recordings.
Besides Stern on guitar, n’goni (a Malian stringed instrument), and voice, “Daouda Sane” features her current multi-ethnic New York-based quartet, which made its recorded debut on last year’s 4. Argentine keyboardist Leo Genovese and a Senegalese rhythm section of bassist Mamadou Ba and percussionist Eladji Alioune Faye are joined by special guest Haruna Samake on camela n’goni (a smaller version of the n’goni). The song is a traditional West African tune, arranged by Faye.
Dance, which was recorded in December 2020, continues the stylistic evolution in which Stern has been engaged for more than a decade, blending jazz and the various musical styles of West Africa. “Honestly, it felt special just to be in the studio,” she says of the recording sessions. “Simply getting together to make music is something to cherish, now more than ever—you can’t take anything for granted. Some of these conditions, though, I’m used to … I’ve worked a lot in Africa over the years, and health precautions are just a part of being there, taking care not to catch malaria or dengue fever. That’s a reality of African life. Trying to make the best of things during a lockdown has also been part of my experience. I made my album Smoke, No Fire in Mali during the military coup there in 2012, with curfews and all the anxiety. When the world around you is threatened, it creates a sense of urgency and focus. We made Dance like that, but trying to invoke a spirit of joy – and resilience.”
About this track in particular, Stern comments: “Daouda Faye Sane was a great griot. In West Africa griots are cherished not only because they are great singers but also because they are the keepers of history.”
For more information on Leni Stern, visit her website.