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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Yohann Le Ferrand's New Single Features Last Recording of Malian Diva Khaira Arby

French guitarist Yohann Le Ferrand releases "Yerna Fassè" -- a collaboration that features one of the final recordings of the late, great Malian diva Khaïra Arby for streaming and download on Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, and other platforms.

"Yerna Fassè" is a funky Malian pop groove, anchored by a big, ballsy desert guitar riff, wild Fulani fiddle, and the angelic voice of Khaira Arby -- hailed as "the Nightingale of Timbuktu" and "The Queen of Saharan Song." Recorded shortly before Arby's passing in 2018 (And remastered for 2021), "Yerna Fassè" translates to "Shared Happiness" from the Sonrai language. The lyrics depict a caravan traveling across the Sahara, from North to South, to distribute salt -- a metaphor for peace and fair sharing among all ethnic groups in war-torn Mali.

"Yerna Fassè" is the first single from the upcoming Yeko EP, which will be released in Sept 2021. "Yeko" means "the way of seeing" in the Bambara language, and the project offers a series of musical portraits featuring intimate performances from some of Mali's biggest stars, orchestrated by Yohann Le Ferrand.

Since 2012, Yohann Le Ferrand has been a fixture on the Malian music scene, where he's been an in-demand guitarist, playing alongside such musical heavyweights as Rokia Traoré, Serge Aimé Coulibaly, and Tiken Jah Fakoly.

Since his beginnings in traditional Breton music, his playing has been informed by African-American aesthetics (jazz / funk) which led him on a musical journey to West Africa. Le Ferrand currently plays guitar for such artists as Kandy Guira, Mamylove Sarambé and the Kinyonga collective. The Yeko project represents nearly a decade of immersion in the music of Mali, and is a love letter to the country and its musicians.


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