Simonobisick is a character from Blick Bassy’s novel ‘Le Moabi Cinema.’ This letter from the novel, which Simonobisick writes to his mum, reads like a statement of Africa’s frustrated youth.
My 2014 photoshoot of Songhoy Blues in the Laffiabougou district of the Malian capital, Bamako, which yielding the cover shot of their hit debut ‘Music in Exile’.
Last year, the Festival on the Niger had been cancelled at the last minute. French transport planes full of soldiers and hardware had landed in Bamako only two weeks before the festival was due to start. Now peace was back. So was music. The jihadists tried to ban all music except Quranic chanting in the north of Mali. But it just came back like Whack-a-mole. How could it not?
This battle for recognition in the hierarchy of the hard is the subject of one of K’naan’s best loved tunes, ‘What’s Hardcore’, with its immortal line “If I rhymed about home and got descriptive / I’d make Fifty Cent look like Limp Bizkit.”’ But what might seem like ghetto-boy posturing was actually part of a deeper struggle to gain respect.