1961, Korin, Mali. Converging the traditional sounds of griot and western dance music, Bagayogo has been nicknamed Techno Issa in his home country. The singer-songwriter began singing and playing the kamelégoni (a six-stringed harp, traditionally associated with hunters in the Wassoulou region) and the daro (a metal bell) while working on the family farm. Becoming well known locally, Bagayogo briefly relocated to the capital Bamako where he recorded a cassette of music before returning home to his family. Two years later, he ventured back to the capital where he became an apprentice bus driver and recorded more music. Becoming increasingly destitute and depressed, however, Bagayogo turned to drink and separated from his wife.
Fortuitously, the musician hooked up with guitarist Moussa Koné and French engineer Yves Wernert. With his new collaborators, Bagayogo began mixing his traditional music with digital sounds at...